Even before the FA Cup Final this weekend, and therefore before Arsenal’s season is over and their European football fate determined, the transfer gossip is rife. Today it is mostly around the news that the club have an option to extend Aubameyang’s stay but may not exercise it. However, there is also (as there is most days!) news -fake or otherwise – on Arsenal’s attempts to bring Thomas Partey to North London.
Various outlets are reporting that whilst Arsenal favour a cash offer for around half his 50 million Euro release clause and then including a player valued at 25m. Who that player maybe is moot as Atletico are reportedly only willing to allow the Ghanaian to leave for the full price and are not keen on any Arsenal overtures involving part-exchange.
One of the reports did spark my interest though – as it suggested an alternative target who was apparently of interest to Arsenal, namely the Guinea International defensive midfielder, Amadou Diawara. One might discount the suggestion that Arteta might turn his interest away from Madrid and towards Diawara at AS Roma, given that the midfielder only moved there from Napoli last summer, but for a few related facts….
- Arsenal were heavily linked with the Guinean last summer, after he impressed for Napoli, particularly in Europe. Our coach may be different, but the hierarchy is similar, and he was a player on our short-list then
- A S Roma are in a huge financial mess, posting debts of 278 million Euros in May and will reportedly be pushed into a bit of a fire sale, so there will be bargains to be had. Which of course are exactly what Arsenal’s finances will need. Buying good players, with age on their side, under market value is exactly the strategy required.
- Roma bought Diawara at the same time they signed Jordan Veretout, the French U21 international. Reports suggest Roma will have to offload one and Veretout is attracting interest from other Italian sides. So, if they must sell an asset then they would sooner not strengthen a domestic rival.
The Guinean is a designer DM at 6 foot with long legs built to intercept and put in timely tackles. Indeed, when he broke onto the scene as a teenager at Bologna in the 2016/16 season, he won the ball back 258 times and this placed him 6th in Serie A. To be so accomplished among peers in a league built on great defensive attributes at only 19 is noteworthy.
This season for Roma his tackle stats per game is 1,8 and his interceptions 1.3. If we compared this to arguably the best in the Premier – Fabinho, at Liverpool – his were 2.3 and 1. Partey stands at 2 tackles per match and 1.4 interception so Diawara appears to compare favourably but is 4 years younger. (All Stats from whoscored.com)
Interestingly the Guinean likes a long pass as well and his pass completion in the league stands at an impressive 88%, well ahead of Partey at 83%. His key pass stats are also high for a DM at 0.7 per match.0.2 higher than our primary target, the Ghanaian.
Of course, stats can be misleading, but this video compilation made last summer on his arrival in Rome, indicates he is a tidy player with game intelligence who plays with his head up. He only turned 23 last week and had 4 seasons in a tough league behind him so this is certainly a story I will watch with interest and not discount. Arteta could be the perfect coach for Diawara and at a price between £15-20 Million with huge re-sale potential it is certainly not a rumour to be ignored, as it is the market we are forced to shop in. The Dortmund model is what Arsenal at present must seek to emulate and this type of young, yet experienced talent, potentially available at an under par price is our type of deal.
The final point is that it is the purchase of this type of specialist defensive midfielder that will allow Arteta to play one of Xhaka or Ceballos slightly further up the pitch. Less defensive duties for either will see the team benefit from their passing range far more.
Passionate fifty-something Arsenal supporter who has been making the journey to N5 regularly since the early 1980s – although his first game was in 1976. Always passionate when talking about The Arsenal, Dave decided to send a guest blog to Gunnersphere in the summer of 2011 and has not stopped writing about the Gunners since.
He set up his own site – 1 Nil Down 2 One Up – in February 2012, which he moved on in 2016 to concentrate on freelance writing and building Gunners Town, which he launched with Paul in 2014.
The objective of GT was to be new and fresh and to give a platform for likeminded passionate Arsenal fans wishing to write about their team. Dave still of course, writes for the site himself and advises the ever-changing writing crew.