With the departure of Bacary Sagna to Manchester City, Arsenal are in dire need of a right full back at the moment. As good as Carl Jenkinson has been, he is still very young and is a novice who needs some more time to learn at the hands of a more experienced campaigner. So it is no wonder to see that Arsenal are in the market for a new right back.
Although plenty of players have been linked with the Gunners, three players standout not just for their performances, but also their likelihood of joining the Gunners in the 2014/15 campaign. First up, it is the 21-year-old Ivory Coast international Serge Aurier who impressed one and all in Brazil, in an otherwise disastrous World Cup campaign for his side. On the back of a brilliant season with Toulouse, many have tipped the youngster for great things and Arsene Wenger has been a keen admirer of his potential for a while now.
The second player in the 25-year-old Seamus Coleman, whose rampaging runs from right back was one of the features of Everton’s play last season. His ability to get up and down the park for the entire 90 minutes and not just make crucial defensive interceptions but also score goals means that he is certainly a force to be reckoned with from defence.
Last but not least is the 28-year-old Frenchman Mathieu Debuchy. Although Newcastle didn’t have a great season, one player that did was the French full back, who bailed his team out of a tightrope on several occasions. Debuchy has merely carried on that form from Newcastle to Brazil as he has continued his performances for the French national side, who are looking to claim their second World Cup title.
While there is no doubt that all three are good in their own ranks who is the better option for the Gunners? Should Wenger go with the experienced Frenchman, the Premier League proven Coleman or the up and coming Ivorian who has a big future ahead of him? In order to come to an informed decision, let us look at their numbers from last season. The three parts we will be looking at are defending, attacking and suitability to the club.
Defensive contribution of the three right backs in their respective Leagues last season
|Average Defensive actions (I+T+C)||10.1||7.9||6.4|
|Average Duels won||57.4||58.9||58.9|
|Yellow/ Red Cards||8/1||11/0||3/0|
I-interceptions T-Tackles won C-Clearances
As far as the defensive aspect is concerned, there is one clear winner. Although Newcastle’s defence was far from convincing last season, Mathieu Debuchy was the standout performer. Not only does he average more interceptions and clearances per game, but he also has the fewest defensive errors of the three players in question.
Defensively, Debuchy’s numbers are nothing short of phenomenal. He wins close to 60% of his duels per game and his average defensive actions is much more than even some centre halves in the Premier League. The only thing that he could improve upon is his discipline. He is the only one among the three to have accrued a red card and his tally of eight yellow cards is second only to Aurier’s 11.
In terms of defensive numbers, there is only one winner and it is the 28-year-old Debuchy, who has shown time and again that experience is a trait that mustn’t be devalued, especially when it comes to defending.
Offensive contribution of the three right backs in their respective Leagues last season
|Successful take ons (in %)||53.3||47.9||57.8|
Unlike their defensive numbers, their offensive output is a much tighter affair. Although Aurier has scored the most goals and has the most assists of the three players, Coleman has created more chances and provides more key passes per game. Not only does Coleman provide more key passes than the other two, but his passing numbers are also much better, something that is likely to hold him in good stead at Arsenal. Another area that has now become crucial is a full back’s ability to take on an opponent and beat him, here again Coleman’s numbers are better, but only slightly more than Debuchy’s.
So, when it comes to their offensive output, not only does Coleman have a better passing range and accuracy when compared to the other two, he has also created more chances, provided more telling balls and is better when it comes to beating his man. Thus making him a brightest prospect of the three, going forward.
Suitablity to the club
While there is no doubt that all three players are defensively sound and great going forward, Coleman’s time at Everton, under Martinez means that his style of play is more suited to the Gunners. Coleman’s ability to not just score or create goals, but also remain calm and composed in possession is something that will certainly hold in good stead at Arsenal.
Which right back Arsenal go for is all a matter of what the club wants. While Coleman would represent the best buy, in terms of his style, age and ability, he is unlikely to move away from Everton and even if he does, he is unlikely to be cheap. On the other hand, if they need a full back who is defensively sound and can also go forward with purpose, then Debuchy is their man. The Frenchman represents a safer option for the Gunners, as his time in England coupled with his experience make him cheap yet sound bet.
But if Arsene is keen on the future and wants someone who will be around for the next decade or so, then Aurier would be perfect for the Gunners. Although the Ivorian is only 21, he has shown plenty of promise in attack for both his club and country. While he may take some time getting used to the Premier League, once he does he will turn out to be a sound investment for the Gunners who are in desperate need of a quality right back.