Why Arsenal signing Denis Zakaria would be a smart move
According to Athletic reporter James Pearce (h/t Daily Mirror), Manchester United and Arsenal have been boosted after Liverpool dismissed claims of signing Switzerland midfielder Denis Zakaria.
The 22-year old Borussia Monchengladbach player had attracted interest from various clubs in Europe after his impressive displays for the Bundesliga table toppers.
The defensive midfielder known for his accurate passing and powerful runs had earlier caught the attention of Premier League leaders Liverpool and Arsenal, according to Sky Germany (h/t Mirror).
However, James Pearce’s tweet recently confirmed that Reds manager Jurgen Klopp was happy with the midfielders at his disposal and would not be pursuing Denis anymore.
With Arsenal and Manchester United enduring difficult starts to their seasons, both clubs are keen to bolster their squad, with the January transfer window around the corner.
Arsenal under manager Unai Emery have received heavy criticism following their latest 2-0 away defeat to Leicester – their fourth in a row.
Meanwhile, United, after a poor start to their campaign have slowly regained confidence under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after gaining two victories and one draw in their last four outings.
Nevertheless, Arsenal (17 points) still stay ahead of the Red Devils by one point. But in this case, points alone do not provide the whole picture.
Things are far gloomier at the Emirates. United have conceded just 12 goals this season while the Gunners have let in 17 already, a figure more than what they have scored altogether this season -16 goals. For United, problems clearly lay in the creative play.
A dearth of good attacking midfielders has clearly hurt the Red Devils, who have extensively relied on their forwards Marcus Rashford (six goals), Anthony Martial and Daniel James (both three each).
For Arsenal, however, it has not been the case. They surely lack a solid defensive setup, which is obvious from the fact that they’ve been squandering leads – like the ones against Wolves (1-1) and Crystal Palace (2-2).
After finishing fifth in his debut season at the Emirates, Emery roped in experienced Chelsea defender David Luiz to add more strength to the backline.
He also made the £72m signing of winger Nicolas Pepe from Lille to add more zest to his attack. However, both players have failed to impress so far.
With former captain Granit Xhaka facing the supporters’ ire after his recent bust-up with them during the game against Palace, Arsenal now clearly miss a talented midfielder who can link up the defence and the attack.
Also, the Spaniard’s over-dependence on the young Matteo Guendouzi in the midfield has witnessed the talented Lucas Torreira being restricted to the bench.
Denis, on the other hand, has played a key role under manager Marco Rose to take his side to the top of the table this year.
The midfielder has featured in all the games for his side this season and has already contributed with two goals and one assist. He was crucial to his side’s fifth-place finish last season as he cemented a spot for himself in the side with his four goals.
His stats, meanwhile, give us a fair idea of his midfield abilities and the talent he possesses. According to Whoscored, Denis has a pass success rate of 84.2 %, 2.4 tackles and 1.5 interceptions per game.
To put things into perspective, Arsenal are currently in dire need of someone who could act as an engine in front of their weak defence, and Denis could fit into that role with ease.
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Also in Denis, Arsenal can find someone who relishes playing in the natural deep-lying midfield role, which they lack right now.