Comparing Arsenal’s £17m-rated and £35m-rated left-back targets – stats show that Emery should sign the former

Arsenal opinion: Grimaldo or Tagliafico – who should Emery sign?

Arsenal after a lot of speculation about how life after Arsene Wenger would be, the Gunners have done quite well in a season of transition. Arsenal who currently sit 3rd in the league, have a great chance to stay there until the end of the season.

Irrespective of where the Gunners finish in the league this season, there are areas in the squad which need to be addressed in the upcoming transfer window. One such area of concern is the left-back role.

Sead Kolasinac, who has been the first choice for most of the season, has done incredibly well in the attack but has been a liability at times defensively.

Fellow left-back Nacho Monreal tuned 33 last month and it is still unclear if the club will offer the experienced Spaniard a new deal after his current one expires this summer.

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Arsenal have to bring in a left-back irrespective of Monreal’s situation at the club and two players who have been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates are Ajax’s £17m-rated Nicolas Tagliafico and Benfica’s £35m-rated Alejandro Grimaldo.

Both full-backs have been highly rated in Europe, thanks to their outstanding performances for their respective clubs but how do they compare against each other when it comes to statistics? Let’s find out.

Defensive numbers

Alejandro Grimaldo has been solid for the Portuguese giants this season and his numbers prove the same. The Spaniard averages 1.7 tackles, 1.7 interceptions and 1.8 clearances per game so far in the Liga NOS this season.

The Spaniard’s success rate in his tackles have also been healthy and averages just 0.8 fouls per game this campaign.

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Nicolas Tagliafico has been one of Ajax’s most underrated players this season but his numbers give him the recognition he deserves. The 26-year old averages 2.3 tackles per game, 2.1 interceptions per game and 1.6 clearances per game so far.

The Argentine averages more tackles and interceptions than Grimaldo but narrowly misses out on the clearance statistic.

Verdict: Nicolas Tagliafico

Attacking numbers

Grimaldo, having played over 500 minutes more than his counterpart, has 4 goals and 6 assists to his name so far. The 23-year-old averages 1.2 shots on goal, 1.2 key passes and 1.5 successful dribbles per game.

The Spaniard averages 59 passes per game, of which over three are long balls with a healthy accuracy of over 82%.

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Tagliafico, on the other hand, has just a goal and 3 assists to his name but averages 1.3 shots on goal and 1.4 key passes per game – both better than Grimaldo. The Argentine boasts of a narrowly better passing accuracy but comes second best in the number of passes and long balls statistic.

Verdict: Alejandro Grimaldo

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Conclusion

Both Nicolas Tagliafico and Alejandro Grimaldo are fantastic options for the Gunners for different reasons. Both full-backs would provide a better balance between the defence and the attack for Unai Emery’s side but with better defensive traits and more top-flight experience, the Argentine would be a better option for the Gunners in the summer.

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Written by Shamanth Jayaram

24-year old Electrical engineer turned football writer, born and brought up in Bangalore.

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