Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez are closing on moves to Arsenal after flying in for pre-deadline medicals on Friday.
Sky in Germany are reporting Mustafi, a central defender, will sign from Valencia on a five-year deal after weeks of negotiations between the two clubs, with a fee which could rise to £35m understood to have been agreed this week.
Mustafi, 24, was on Everton’s books as a youngster and played for Sampdoria before joining Valencia in August 2014.Valencia’s Shkodran Mustafi and Atletico Madrid’s Jose Maria Gimenez have been the two names circulated in the media over the past few days, with neither option coming for a price that would please the notoriously careful Wenger.
Despite agreeing personal terms with Mustafi, talks between Arsenal and Valencia have progressed glacially, so attention has been focused on Atleti’s Uruguayan sensation.
In February of last season, Gimenez was clearly one of La Liga’s strongest players. This fact was such an extent that Squakwa described him as ‘the mortar to [Diego] Godin’s brick in Diego Simeone’s impregnable wall’.
Gimenez made nine further appearances, and his displays in red and white clearly had tongues wagging in Spain, with Real Madrid making an approach for their bitter rivals key asset.
Arsenal have reportedly joined the race for Gimenez in recent days, but could be warded off by his €65m release clause.
Mustafi would definitely provide a cheaper option at approximately £26m, but is the German international statistically a better option to Gimenez?
Using Squakwa’s comparison matrix , that certainly suggests that is the case. Mustafi (30) played marginally more La Liga games to his Atleti counterpart, with Gimenez appearing in just three games fewer.
The Valencia star is surrounded, by and large, by weaker players, so it is unsurprising that he does not seem to trust his fellow defenders with the ball in terms of forward passes completed in 2015/16.
In comparison to Gimenez’s 694, Mustafi’s total of 1064 proves that if Wenger if searching for an defender with attack-orientated instincts means that the cheaper option is the better one, much to Arsene’s liking.
Both players have a similar pass success rate, but it is again Mustafi who triumphs in successful tackles (51-40).
Again, little separates the pair when examining aerial duels won, but Mustafi’s weaknesses are evidently highlighted through the number of fouls the German has committed as well as tackles lost.
In the former, Gimenez’s percentage of 64.29 far outweighs Mustafi’s effort of 53.85 percent, whilst the former Everton trainee has been unsuccessful in his attempts to attain the ball 73 times.
Gimenez’s reputation for being a physically threatening and resilient defender is reflected in Squakwa’s statistics, with the Uruguayan failing to successfully take the ball from his opponent just 49 times throughout last season.
Nevertheless, Mustafi remains strong in other areas of his game, making almost twice as many interceptions as Gimenez, whilst the World Cup winner triumphs narrowly in number of blocks made.
Our verdict: Mustafi would make more sense financially for Arsenal as he is better value for money, but Gimenez at 21 is already an outstanding defender and his potential is frightening to even consider. Either signing would be a wise one for the Gunners, but they need to make a move quickly.
Deportivo La Coruna striker Perez is also poised to move to the Emirates, with manager Arsene Wenger saying he was “99 per cent confident” he will have strengthened his squad before the transfer window closes next Wednesday.
The Spaniard, 27, averaged nearly a goal over two games for Deportivo and effectively kept the La Liga safe from relegation. Everton have thought to have won the race to sign Perez after agreeing a fee but the Gunners have hijacked the deal late on.
Arsene Wenger’s prime transfer target in the forward department this summer was undoubtedly Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette.
Interestingly, Perez looks to be a far better player for carving out opportunities compared to Lacazette in one of a number of reasons why we feel the Spaniard could be a better signing for the Gunners.
Now, the French giants are far from the force they were in past years, but weighing the two teams up against each other in their respective leagues it is a fair conclusion to say that Perez’s strikes are a more remarkable feat than Lacazette’s equal number in France.
We’ve had a detailed look at the overall statistics from Perez and Lacazette throughout the 2015/16 campaign and placed Olivier Giroud alongside the pair to show the differences between the forwards, with thanks to Squakwa’s outstanding Comparison Matrix.
Perez is prolific on his left foot, scoring an enormous eighty-two percent of his goals on that side.
The fact that Lacazette is predominately right-footed would not have been a bad thing for Arsenal as Giroud is actually naturally left-footed, but as you can see the Frenchman is equally capable on either foot, with eight goals from both legs last season.
However, Perez’s is enabled to be versatile due to his striking preference, with the ability to play just off the forwards, or even off to the right hand side with a preference to cut into the defence and strike within.
A tireless and willing runner, Perez’s potential partnership with Giroud could do wonders for Arsenal’s team. Lacazette is the main player at Lyon like Perez is at Deportivo, but the play is centrally planned towards Lacazette at Lyon. He would not be the main focus at Arsenal, which may have been a problem.
Perez also easily beats off the competition posed by Lacazette and Giroud when it comes to creating key passes for his team. A goal record of seventeen with sixty-four chances created is no easy feat and is one of the many reasons why Perez is adored by the Deportivo fans.
The juxtaposition of the two players is also shown by the the goals scored statistic. It is not unjustified to say that La Liga is a more competitive league than Ligue 1, and that Deportivo are a weaker outfit than Lyon, but the fact that Perez achieved the same total as Lacazette certainly points to the possibility that Perez could be far more lethal in a strong team.
Although it’s a narrow victory, the former Rayo Vallecano ace had the best shot accuracy of all three forwards last season, but the following statistics do highlight Perez’s weaknesses.
Giroud towers over the 5 foot 9 inches forward at over 6 foot, whilst despite being the smallest player in our matrix, Lacazette actually has an impressive record in terms of aerial duels won.
However, Perez’s class is not displayed through any prowess in the air, so as such it will be Giroud’s responsibility to convert Mesut Ozil’s crosses.
To conclude, for just €20 million Perez looks to be an incredible purchase for Arsenal, certainly when one looks at Lyon’s extortionate demands for Lacazette.
With a new strike partner, Arsenal fans will hope that Giroud will have a fresh lease of life up front and maintain a strong consistency in what could be a formidable pairing with Perez this season.
And with news that Valencia have given the green light over the £26 million transfer of Shkodran Mustafi to Arsenal, it’s good news all round at the Emirates.
It wasn’t such a bad transfer window after all, eh Gunners?