Why Arsenal should sign Orel Mangala to solve midfield issues
The Gunners have had a difficult start to their season under manager Unai Emery after registering just four wins from their 12 Premier League outings.
With half the season almost over, the North London club remain sixth in the table – still eight points short of a Champions League berth.
Aged 21, the defensive midfield player, is tracked by a lot of other European clubs which includes the likes of Lyon, Marseille, Lille, and Roma.
However, it needs to be seen if a move for Mangala, who plies his trade for a side which plays in the German second tier would quash the discontent that runs high among the Arsenal fans.
Having made 11 league appearances from a total of 13 matches this season, the highly-rated midfielder could cost up to £26million for Gunners with a host of clubs lining up to grab the midfielder’s signature.
The Belgian, who had made nine appearances for their under-19 side has had an excellent pass success of 84.9% this season for Stuttgart, according to Whoscored.com.
His abilities as a midfielder were also quite evident during his loan spell at Hamburger SV the year before, when his pass success rate read 87.7%.
Former captain Xhaka had grabbed the headlines after his recent bust-up with the fans and could soon be preferring a move elsewhere, which might open the doors for the young Belgian.
Mostly playing as a central midfielder, Mangala is also comfortable switching to attacking and defensive roles as per the requirements of the game.
With 2.2 tackles and 1.7 interceptions per game last season, Mangala statistically outperforms another Gunners defensive midfielder Lucas Torreira, who had 1.9 tackles and 1.2 interceptions to his credit.
With things not going according to plan, Emery is under a lot of pressure to up the ante and it remains to be seen if a move for Mangala would be well received by the Gunners crowd.
However, Arsenal’s defensive woes have been clearly exposed by the sheer number of goals they have already conceded this season – 17, which is one more than what they have scored altogether.
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Taking this into account, Emery targetting this young defensive midfield dynamo could provide them with the much-needed assurance in front of a weak back-four.
Also, with Xhaka’s future remaining an uncertainty, there is nothing wrong in Gunners setting their sights on this young talent.