The best Under 23 Bundesliga players

Following on from the top 10 under 23 players in the Premier League, this will be the top 10 under 23 players in the Bundesliga. As there are only 10 spots, some players have had to miss out such as Tyler Adams whos had to miss out due to only played 723 minutes for RasenBallsport Leipzig (RB Leipzig) as he only joined them in January 2019 and as he came from the MLS his stats would be skewed as it has less quality.

10 – Dayot Upamecano, 20-years-old:

Another 20-year-old French centre back in this list, however he won’t be the last. One of the only defences to have been better than Dortmund’s according to xG and how it actually played out was Leipzig’s. Leipzig had the best defence in the league as they conceded 29 but according to xG, they had the second-best defence as they should’ve conceded and extra 10. This shows they got lucky defensively but still the second best, only behind the dominant Bayern Munich.

Upamecano does draw up many comparisons to Zagadou but more so than just the age, position and nationality. Just like Zagadou, Upamecano is commanding in the air as he wins 3.1 aerial duels per 90 and has a very high success rate of 66%. As well as this, Dayot is also fairly comfortable on the ball as he completes 49.9 passes per 90 with a success rate of 82.5%. The pass accuracy is lower as Leipzig is more direct than Dortmund as highlighted by Dortmund averaging 56.8% possession, the third highest in the league, in comparison to Leipzig’s 49.5%.

9 – Jonathan Tah, 23-years-old:

Tah has been subject of a move to Bayern Munich for the last four seasons and with good reason as the German international has had an impressive season at Leverkusen once again. This season Tah started 33 league matches as he played a total of 2939 minutes. Despite the poor form Leverkusen has before Peter Bosz took the helm, Jonathan Tah was still in contention for the Bundesliga team of the season. Since Bosz has taken over at Leverkusen, Tah has been given much more responsibility as Bosz has implemented a very attacking system with a defensive line on the halfway line to box the opposition in their own half. This system change has meant Tah has had a bigger part to play in Leverkusen’s defence as well as offence.

The Hamburger academy graduate is very adept on the ball. This is backed up by him averaging 75.5 passes per 90 with a 89.8% pass accuracy. These are ambitious passes as backed up by his 3.8 accurate long balls per 90 out of an attempted 6.6 long balls as well as his 0.2 key passes per 90. These numbers will rise next season if Bosz remains in charge as since his arrival, all Tah’s statistics have improved despite only being in charge since mid-December.

8 – Ibrahima Konaté, 20-years-old:

The other French 20-year-old centre back at RB Leipzig, Konaté is regarded higher up than Upamecano by Leipzig and the whole of Europe. The Frenchman started 27 of the 34 Bundesliga matches during the 2018/19 season at he played a major part in Leipzig earning the best defence as well as grabbing a goal and an assist. In his 2431 minutes he averaged 37 passes with an 76% pass accuracy highlighting he’s not as comfortable on the ball compared to Upamecano. However, during the under-21 Euros with France he averaged 59.5 passes with a success rate of 88.2% showing he can be used in build up play for Nagelsmann in 2019/20.

Ibrahima is more aerial dominant than Dayot as he wins 3.6 out of 5.1 per 90 giving him a colossal win rate of 70.6%. In comparison, Virgil Van Dijk is well known for being one of the most aerial dominant players, wins 75% of his aerial battles and he is in his prime at 28-years-old. Konaté is also a very good dribble as he has a dribble success rate of 88.8%. He only attempts 0.9 per 90 which is quite high for a centre back as they don’t tend to step out of the line but that shows he knows when to attempt a dribble and not put his team in unnecessary danger.

7 – Benjamin Pavard, 23-years-old:

Probably most well known for his goal at the 2018 World Cup against Argentina, the versatile Frenchman can play centre back and right back. This is important to Bayern Munich as at the end of the 2017/18 season they lost Juan Bernat and at the end of the 2018/19 season they lost long servant Rafinha which left Die Roten’s full backs thin. Benjamin managed to play 2606 minutes during 2018/19 as Stuttgart faltered as they conceded 70 goals in 34, 1 more less than the which is huge drop off from 2017/19 when they conceded 36 in 34 as they had the second-best defence.

During the 2018/19 Bundesliga season, Pavard maintained his form which includes his all-round game being very good rather than excelling at one thing. The former Lille man averaged 49.8 passes which includes 0.4 key passes and 3.4 long balls with a 84.6% pass accuracy as he was vital to progressing the ball forward when he filled in at right back. Pavard also kept his place in the French set-up despite his teams faltering as his good performances shone through which helped him earn his move to the German champions.

6 – Lucas Hernandez, 23-years-old:

Another French centre back which shows that the French national team are set to continue performing at a high level as well as the Bundesliga being the place for young defenders to learn their trade. Another Bayern Munich newcomer that can play centre back and deputise at full back, Lucas Hernandez’s move from Los Rojiblancos made him the world’s second most expensive defender of all time behind Virgil Van Dijk and its clear why. Lucas, like Pavard is also a world cup winner with France but unlike Pavard, Hernandez played most of his minutes at left back.

In Lucas’ 1119 league minutes, he averaged a low 81.3% pass accuracy which would increase drastically as he moves away from Simeone’s counter attacking and towards a more possession dominant Bayern side. Despite him not getting consistent minutes and him playing defensive football, he still averaged 1.3 key passes per 90 showing he’s able to fill in for Alaba. However, he also wouldn’t shy away from his defensive duties as he also averaged 3.5 tackles and interceptions per 90 highlighting his all-round attributes.

5 – Leon Bailey, 21-years-old:

A very versatile forward as he’s filled in all across the front line for Leverkusen during 2018/19. The Jamaican managed to play 1921 minutes but only had 1 minor injury concern towards the end of the season that meant he missed 2 matches. Due to his inconsistent game time, he only managed to get 5 goals and 1 assist. Despite his lack of goal involvements, Leon still had a promising 2018/19. He averaged 1.9 shots with 1 from outside the box which shows his shot location would require improvement but as he is very young, you expect as he gets older this will naturally improve as he matures.

Leon only managed 1 assist however, xA has him down at 4 assists which is backed up by his 1.6 key passes per 90 which shows he was unlucky, and his team mates couldn’t finish off the chances he had created for them. With all this, per 90 his xG was 0.24 whilst his xA was 0.19, 0.43 expected goal contributions per 90 at 21. There is the argument that this is so high due to Peter Bosz’s incredibly attacking tactics but on the other side of the argument, for the first half of the season Leverkusen were very defensive and dogmatic as well as Bailey still performing despite the inconsistent game time.

4 – Julian Brandt, 23-years-old:

The 2018/19 season was huge season for Brandt as it earnt him his move to Dortmund and its easy to see why. In 2674 minutes, the 25-time capped German scored 7 and assisted 11 which meant he got the third highest assists as he helped Leverkusen finish fourth. Julian took 2 shots per 90 with 0.9 from outside the box which leaves room for improvement but as he will be playing with better creators such as Reus, Hazard and Sancho, Brandt’s shot location should improve as he’s given better chances and he matures as a player.

Brandt was also bought due to his versatility and ability to fill multiple positions as during 2018/19 he played on both wings, as an attacking midfielder and Bosz even played him at central midfield as well as left wing back for a match. Despite being shifted around a lot, Brandt still maintained 2.6 key passes caveated with 1.7 successful dribbles per 90. All this how pivotal and important Brandt was to the Leverkusen attack as Brandt was directly involved in 26.1% of Die Werkself’s goals.

3 – Kai Havertz, 20-years-old:

Another player that flourished under Peter Bosz’s new implemented system, Haverz, like Dele Alli, is a rare kind of player as he plays as a second striker. Due to his position being very rare within football at current, his price has been inflated from an already high price due to his attacking qualities at such a young age. Kai is coming off a season in which he scored 17 and got 3 assists which meant he ended the 2018/19 season as the equal third top goal scorer. The German took 2.6 shots with 0.8 from outside the box which highlights his maturity especially at such a young age however, his xG was 11.99 which either highlight he got the rub of the green or he is a clinical finisher. As in his last 2 seasons/his first 2 seasons he’s been in line with his xG, it would suggest he got luck but due to his age, it might have been his breakthrough season.

Havertz is not just a goal scorer, he also had 1 key pass and 1.4 successful dribbles per 90 showing good awareness and variety to his game. Kai is also a good passer as he has a pass accuracy of 87.2% which is very high for an attacking player especially in the Bundesliga as most sides play with high intensity and whilst applying a lot of pressure to the opposition. Another key attribute for him is his fitness as during 2018/19, he made 34 appearances which included 33 league starts and he played 94.8% of the league minutes available which could be another factor that could drive his price up even further.

2 – Jadon Sancho, 19-years-old:

Probably the only player on this list that hasn’t had very strong links to the Bavarian champions, the Englishman has had a breakthrough season during 2018/19. Jadon started the league campaign as a bench player but after impressing coming off the bench he was given a starting role which meant he started 26 games with 8 substitute appearances resulting in him playing 2464 minutes. He scored 12 goals and topped the Bundesliga assist charts with 14. However, xG has him at 7.42 and xA at 8.31 which shows considerate luck but the whole Dortmund had luck as they nearly stopped Bayern Munich’s stronghold on the Bundesliga. Despite the rub of the green, per 90 his xG is 0.27 and xA is 0.3 which would result in a very impressive 0.57 expected direct goal involvements per 90, yet he only turns 20 in March 2020.

Jadon’s shot numbers aren’t very high as he only averages 1.2 per 90 but with his xG as high as it is, this shows he is decisive and makes good decisions as backed up with his shot location, only 0.3 shots from outside the box per 90. Sancho is also very creative with 1.9 key passes, but his main attribute is his ability on the ball. The former Man City winger has a pass accuracy of 84.9% which is high for an attacking player, but he completes 3.3 dribbles out of 5.5 attempted per 90 giving him a success rate of 60%. Sancho prominently plays off the right but has also played on the left for the German outfit which highlights his versatility.

1 – Timo Werner, 23-years-old:

Timo has been brought into the limelight since joining RB Leipzig from Stuttgart as since getting promoted, Leipzig have been challenging towards the top end of the table. Werner has played a big part in Leipzig’s success as he has scored consistently. In 2525 minutes during the 2018/19 season the former Stuttgart man scored 16 and assisted 7 which meant he was his teams’ top scorer and equal top provider as Forsberg also got 7 assists. These numbers are about on par with what is expected as his xG was 17.38 and his xA was 5.61 which is an expected 22.99 direct goal involvements and he ended the season on 23.

As Leipzig finished third behind the dominant Bavarians and the lucky Dortmund, Werner had another impressive season. Werner takes a high 3.6 shots with only 0.4 from outside the box per 90 which highlights his maturity as his shot location is with the elite. Werner is also creative as highlighted by his 7 assists, he averaged 1.2 key passes per 90 which doesn’t sound too impressive but for a predatory striker that’s taking 3.6 shots, this is very high. He emulates aspects of Icardi as the Argentine averaged 2.5 shots with 0.3 from outside the box caveated with 1.2 key passes, and like Icardi, Werner isn’t involved much in build up play. The Stuttgart academy graduate averaged 25.5 passes with a 74.2% pass accuracy which is very low even for a forward. Like passing. Timo isn’t great at dribbling, he completes 1 dribble per 90 but fails 1.7 per 90. His passing and dribbling abilities highlights why he doesn’t get involved in build up play and why Leipzig play counter attacking football, therefore Werner thrives there.

The best Under 23 Premier League players

This is a list comprising the best players in the Premier League that will be 23 or under when the new season kicks off on the 9th August. As it is a top 10, some very good players have had to miss out, so honourable mentions to Rúben Neves, Lewis Cook, Issa Diop, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden of Wolves, Bournemouth, West Ham, Aston Villa and Man City respectively.

10) Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 23 years-old:

The Englishman had struggled with game time at Stamford Bridge but after impressing on loan at Crystal Palace during the 2017/18 season in which he completed 1.8 tackles and interceptions, 1.3 shots (only 0.4 from outside the box), 1.1 key passes and a huge 3 dribbles per 90 which led to him getting fouled 2.6 times per 90, all of these contributions earnt him 2 goals and 3 assists in 1875 minutes which included 21 league starts however his xG was 3.45 and his xA was 3.25 showing he was a bit unlucky. His stats show his all-round game and his work rate whilst also showcasing his natural ability with 3 dribbles per 90, 0.9 less than Lionel Messi in the 2018/19 La Liga season.

He was able to build upon this in the 2018/19 season with Chelsea as he clocked up 985 minutes as he started 6 matches and came off the bench 18 times as Sarri was easing him into the side but under Frank Lampard he will have more consistent game time as he is sure to be more prominent in the setup once he returns from injury. In his 985 league minutes, he scored 6 and assisted his teammates twice as he overperformed xG by 2.76 and xA by 1 which shows he got the rub of the green so to speak, this means he averages a goal contribution every 123 minutes but that has to be taken with a pinch of salt as it’s a limited sample size, he’s often coming on against tired defences and he’s had inconsistent game time so if Lampard wants give him a bigger role at Chelsea, we could see a better version of the 2017/18 Loftus-Cheek.

9) Pablo Fornals, 23-years-old:

The Spaniard has joined West Ham from Villarreal for £25 million after a disappointing season as the Yellow Submarine finished 14th as Fornals played 2483 minutes and scored 2 whilst getting 3 assists however his xG was closer to 4 and his xA was about 5.5. West Ham haven’t bought him off the 2018/19 season as in 2017/18 he scored 3 and got 12 assists in his first season at Villarreal with his xG being 3.14 and his xA being 9.29 which are still very impressive underlying numbers. During the 2017/18 season, he played 2623 league minutes and he averaged 2.1 tackles and interceptions, 1.5 shots (0.7 from outside the box showing his immaturity and his shooting position needing to be improved), 1.5 key passes and 0.8 dribbles with a respectable 53% success rate per 90.

In the 2018/19 season, his dribbling improved showing he is maturing as he completed 1.1 dribbles per 90 with a much healthier 61% success rate. However, it was in the under 21 Euros this summer is when he came into fruition and into the public eye as he played a big part in the tournament. He clocked up 320 minutes as he scored 2 and got an assist whilst averaging 2.4 shots (only 0.6 from outside the box showing maturity in shooting location), 1.8 key passes whilst keeping a good 88.1% pass accuracy, 1.2 dribbles with a 60% success rate as well as 2 tackles and interceptions per 90 as his nation went on to win the competition.

8) Diogo Jota, 22-years-old:

Diogo is coming off his second season at Wolves, his first in the Premier League, as he really showed his quality in England’s top flight. In 2372 minutes, he scored 9 goals and 5 assists meaning he’s averaging a goal contribution every 169 minutes. Wolves only scored 47 goals and as Jota had 14 goal contributions, this means he was directly involved in 29.8% of their goals despite featuring in 69% of the available minutes. His xG was 8.91 and his xA was 5.54 showing he was near enough spot on with his underlying stats so no luck either side.

In his 2372 minutes, the former Atletico Madrid man averaged 1.8 shots (only 0.3 from outside the box showing great shot location), 0.8 key passes, 1.7 dribbles with a low 47% success rate showing he needs to pick more carefully when to take his man on, this immaturity and lack of good decision is backed up with his 11 yellow cards which included 3 in his last 3 appearances of the season, along with his 75.6% pass accuracy which is expected to be low due to him being an attacking player but that is too low. Diogo played as a left winger, striker and even an attacking midfielder for Wolves during the 2018/19 season showing his versatility and ability to plug gaps in attacking positions.

7) Youri Tielemans, 22-years-old:

Leicester’s club record signing is the first of their 3 midfielders in this list. In the 2018/19 season, he clocked up 1092 minutes at Leicester despite joining on loan in January in which he scored 3 and got 4 assists whilst his xG was 2.06 and his xA was 2.50 showing he got the rub of the green however over the course of the season that would level out more as his 1092 minutes is a small sample size. In just his 13 league starts he quickly impressed and became a fan favouite.

In his 1092 minutes, he averaged 2.4 shots (1.8 from outside the box showing he really backs himself but Brendan Rodgers will have to coach that out of him and improve his shot location), 1.2 key passes, 0.9 dribbles with a 64.3% success rate (showing he knows when to take his man on), 49.3 passes with an 85% pass accuracy along with 1.7 tackles and interceptions per 90.

6) Marcus Rashford, 21-years-old:

For a player who only got his chance due to injuries and lack of depth for Man United in 2015/16 under Van Gaal, Rashford has done well to remain in the first team for the seasons following due to him taking his chances when he starts as well as his work ethic, this and him coming through Man United’s youth academy has made him a fan favourite at Old Trafford. He played 2345 minutes during the 2018/19 season and in those minutes he payed all along the front line showing his versatility and desire to play.

In his 2345 he scored 10 and got 6 assists, his xG was 11.61 and his xA was 5.27 so he was about on track for his goal contributions. This is because he averaged 2.5 shots (1.1 from outside the box which is good for an attacker of his age but clear room for improvement in the decision making), 1.2 key passes, 1.3 dribbles with a 50% success rate which led to him drawing 1.6 fouls and 20.2 passes with a 78.1% pass accuracy. The shot location, dribble success rate and pass accuracy show he requires an improvement in decision making if he wants to take his game to the next level, but the rest of his numbers are very promising for the 21-year-old.

5) Wilfred Ndidi, 22-years-old:

The Nigerian defensive midfielder is in this list as for the last few years his defensive numbers have been colossal in Leicester’s midfield. In the 2018/19 season, he averaged 6 tackles and interceptions (3.8 tackles and 2.2 interceptions) whilst only fouling 1.2 per 90 and being dribbles past 1.3 times per 90. This season is no fluke either, throughout his career he’s always put up huge defensive number even in a top competition and when he was young. In the 2016/17 Europa League with Genk, he averaged 7 tackles with 4.8 interceptions and even in the Champions League later that season with Leicester, he averaged 5.3 tackles and interceptions whilst in the 2018 World Cup, with Nigeria he averaged 5 tackles and 4 interceptions per 90 which are obscene numbers.. These numbers are huge due to the teams he played in haven’t been possession heavy and more counter attack orientated but throughout his career he’s averaged committing 1.6 fouls and being dribbled past 1.6 times per 90 which will decrease as he gets older due to him maturing and his decision making improving with experience but already those stats are very good.

During the 2018/19 season, he played 3299 minutes as he started 37 games and was subbed on for the other game showing how important he is to Leicester with his performances. In his 3299 minutes he got 2 goals and 0 assists, but he averaged 1.4 shots (0.9 from outside the box), 0.6 key passes, 0.9 dribbles (with a 69% success rate) and 52.2 passes with a pass accuracy of 79.9%. These show he is more defensive orientated but can occasionally offer things when going forward like his dribbles or passes to progress the ball forwards however the pass accuracy and shot location would need improving but are probably bad due to him being a defensive midfielder.

4) James Maddison, 22-years-old:

James has shot to prominence after his move from Norwich to Leicester after having an outstanding debut Premier League season in which he played 2850 minutes and scored 7 times whilst also assisting his team mates 7 times with his xG at 7.37 and xA at 7.94 shows it’s not a lucky season but in fact a statement of intent from the Englishman. He showed his versatility and desire to play as he played attacking midfielder and on the left wing as he quickly became a favourite at the King Power.

He averaged 2.3 shots (1.6 from outside the box), 2.8 key passes, 1,4 dribbles with a 70% success rate, 39 passes with a pass accuracy of 83.8% along with 1.6 tackles and interceptions per 90. His shot location is poor due to him being on set pieces (which is also why he averages 1.9 crosses and the key passes are high but xA is low for the amount of key passes) but could still be improved in open play along with his pass accuracy. Maddison created the most amount of chances (100) in the Premier League, ahead of new Galactico Hazard (created 98) who also took set pieces for his respective side, Chelsea.

3) Trent Alexander-Arnold, 20-years-old:

The Champions League winner is coming off a huge season with Liverpool as they lost the league by 1 point as they reached 97 points (despite the luck in xG) but Trent got many plaudits for his very impressive season for the Reds in which he scored 1 and got 12 assists which broke a record for defender with most assists in a Premier League season, his xG was 1.49 and his xA was 7.22 so he got the rub of the green when creating chances along with Andy Robertson’ but that’s what happens when they’re creating chances for their elite front three but both of their assists will drop next season along with Liverpool’s points tally.

In the league, he played 2467 minutes as he averaged 3.3 tackles and interceptions, 1 shot (0.8 from outside the box), 1.7 key passes (Trent takes corners so that boosts his key passes) along with 58.5 passes with a 77.5% pass accuracy per 90. The shot location is poor due to him being a defender but the pass accuracy is low as he’s constantly trying to progress the ball forward with vertical forward passes which is backed up by him completing 4 long balls from 8.9 long balls per 90.

2) Dele Alli, 23-years-old:

The former MK Dons player came from the Dons to the Lily Whites and became a first team regular as he was pushed from deep line play maker to second striker at Tottenham in which he has flourished, and that switch has brought him to prominence and into in the spotlight. He is coming off a disappointing season by his standards as injuries heavily hampered his season as he only managed to play 1835 minutes in which he scored 5 and got 3 assisits which was on track for his xG and xA.

During the 2018/19 season, he averaged 1.6 shots (only 0.4 from outside the box showing his experience and maturity despite still being very young), 1.1 key passes, 1.2 dribbles (54.5% success rate so decision making on when to attempt to take his man on needs improvement but his injury could’ve hampered his mobility and/or pace), 41.1 passes with a pass accuracy of 80.3% along with 2.1 tackles and interceptions. These stats show he can be involved in everything however his low pass accuracy and dribble success rate could be down to him being advanced up the pitch or down to poor judgement but will need to be improved.

1)Leroy Sané, 23-years-old:

The formed Schalke player only started 21 league matches and came off the bench 10 times as he clocked up 1867 minutes despite his talent being evident, but the lack of minutes is down to Pep Guardiola rotating his squad and him not being overly fancied as he’s more of an individualist rather than a system player especially compared to Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva. Despite the lack of minutes, Sané still got 10 goals and 10 assists but his xG was 6.98 and his xA was 8.10, he performed xG and xA as he was coming on against tired defences, so his pace was too much. Despite this, he had an xG of 0.34 and an xA of 0.39 per 90 (not the most accurate as his sample size isn’t huge but still very impressive as his game time was inconsistent), so he is expected to have a direct hand in a goal 0.73 times per 90.

In his 1867 minutes, the German international averaged 1.8 shots (0.6 from outside the box), 1.3 key passes, 1.8 dribbles (with a 54.5% success rate), 27.3 passes with a pass accuracy of 84.4% along with 1.1 tackles and interceptions. With these very promising stats that will improve as he gets older and matures as he gains experience as well as when he gets more consistent game time then it is very clear why Bayern Munich were desperate to land him but also why Man City were desperate to keep hold of him.

How Newcastle’s summer should go

Here is Newcastle’s squad:

Goalkeepers:

Karl Darlow – 38 league starts – 3420 minutes

Martin Dúbravka – 0 league starts – 0 minutes

Rob Elliot – 0 league starts – 0 minutes

Defenders:

Ciaran Clark – 9 league starts + 2 subs – 858 minutes

Paul Dummet – 21 league starts + 5 starts – 1987 minutes

Federico Fernández – 17 league starts + 2 starts – 1484 minutes

Jamaal Lascelles – 32 league starts – 2748 minutes

Achraf Lazaar (returning from loan with Sheffield Wednesday) – 3 league starts + 1 sub – 220 minutes

Florian Lejeune – 12 league starts – 1055 minutes

Javier Manquillo – 12 league starts + 6 subs – 1100 minutes

Fabian Schär – 22 league starts + 2 subs – 2004 minutes

DeAndre Yedlin – 28 league starts + 1 sub – 2475 minutes

Midfielders:

Rolando Aarons (returning from loan with Sheffield Wednesday) – 6 league starts + 3 subs – 556 minutes

Christian Atsu – 15 league starts + 13 subs – 1488 minutes

Jack Colback (returning from loan with Nottingham Forest) – 38 league starts – 3387 minutes

Isaac Hayden – 21 league starts + 4 subs – 1864 minutes

Sung-Yueng Ki – 14 league starts + 4 subs – 1302 minutes

Sean Longstaff – 8 league starts + 1 sub – 688 minutes

Jacob Murphy (returning from loan with West Brom) – 12 league starts + 12 subs – 1130 minutes

Matt Ritchie – 35 league starts + 1 sub – 2940 minutes

Henri Saivet (returning from loan with Bursaspor) – 24 league starts + 5 subs – 2090 minutes

Jonjo Shelvey – 10 league starts + 6 subs – 944 minutes

Forwards:

Miguel Almirón – 9 league starts + 1 sub – 763 minutes

Dwight Gayle (returning from loan with West Brom) – 34 league starts + 6 subs – 2936 minutes

Yoshinori Mutō – 5 league starts + 12 subs – 519 minutes

Joselu Sanmartín – 5 league starts + 11 subs – 587 minutes

Season recap:

Despite avoiding relegation and finishing 13th on 45 points (winning 12, drawing 9 and losing 17) after only gaining 3 points from the first 10 matches, the 2018/19 season was a failure for Newcastle as it saw Rafael Benítez leave at the end of the season due to him and owner, Mike Ashley fell out as Rafa felt Mike Ashley lacked ambition with Newcastle. This was a huge loss as Rafa won the Championship with the Magpies in his first full season then kept them from relegation in the 2 seasons that followed despite the lack of financial backing and the squad remining Championship standard. In the 2018/19 season, Newcastle only scored 42 goals, with only the bottom 4 scoring less, and they conceded an impressive 48 goals, the equal 7th best defence in the league along with Leicester which was better than Man United and Arsenal who conceded 54 and 51 respectively. Although keeping Newcastle in the Premier League is considered a success at the moment, the 13th placed finish showed regression from the 2017/18 season. In Newcastle’s first season in the Premier League (2017/18), they finished 10th having scored 39 and conceded 47 which meant they boasted the 8th worst attack and the 7th best defence, ahead of Arsenal once again who conceded 51 in Arsène Wenger’s last season at the Emirates.

In the EFL Cup, the Northern club got knocked out in the second round by Championship side Nottingham Forest, as the lost 3-2 at home to Forest. In the FA Cup they endured more success as they were knocked out in the fourth round by eventual finalists, Watford as the Hornets beat Newcastle 2-0 at St. James’ Park.

Transfers:

Newcastle’s main priority this summer will be getting in a manager that will keep them from becoming a Championship club and after Benítez had the players used to their 5 at the back, the next manager must be able to implement a similar formation if they don’t want to get off to a rocky start. With Ayoze Pérez’s departure to the King Power having brought in an extra £30 million to spend for their new manager, this summer could be a big one for Newcastle. Newcastle have a rumoured £60 million to spend with an extra £30 million from Ayoze’s departure plus any additional funds from sales which there would be plenty as Newcastle have plenty of Championship quality players.

Whilst the sales of Lejeune (£10 million), Lazaar (£1 million), Yedlin (£10 million), Colback (£3 million), Saivet (£1 million) , Shelvey (£15 million), Joselu (£5 million), Gayle (£15 million) will bring in a good amount of money, it will leave some holes in the squad that will need to be addressed for the upcoming season. The loan of Salomon Rondon ending will also be a massive loss as he was the focal point of their attack under Rafa as he was their outlet, they will have to bring in a new striker without getting any money for their main striker last season.

Although Florian Lejeune is a top centre back for Newcastle, he only managed just over 1000 minutes due to injuries. On the 29th July 2018 he had a cruciate ligament rupture in which he came back on the 31st December meaning he was out for 155 days and then on the 6th April 2019 he had a knee injury, ruling him out for most of the summer which has already totalled to over 90 days of being out due to this injury, if they can get some money for him and reinvest it in a new centre back the Newcastle’s defence will have strengthened and have a more consistent face in their defence. Achraf Lazaar, Jack Colback and Dwight Gayle are all coming back off seasons in the Championship but with differing success however none are good enough for the Premier League and Newcastle’s squad so getting money for them would be smart business so they can reinvest it wisely. DeAndre Yedlin is coming off a poor season defensively which doesn’t get noticed in a very defensive side but has the pace to recover but there are better options for Newcastle which they will have to explore. Jonjo Shelvey only clocked up 944 minutes despite not having an injury since the 2013/14 season and the lack of minutes highlights that he is expendable so keeping him when he is valued at £15 million (on Transfermarkt) would be a bad move so shipping him on means strengthening the squad. Joselu has been unnoticeable since joining from Stoke and his seasons at Newcastle have been lacklustre whilst Saivet may be coming off a consistent season in Turkey, he isn’t Premier League quality, so he isn’t required.

After these sales added to the £30 million from Ayoze Pérez leaving and the initial transfer budget of £60 million will leave around £150 million to spend with certain prominent issues that need solving.

Transfers in:

Manager – Quique Setién. He may have got sacked at the end of the 2018/19 season by Real Betis after a disappointing last 2 third of the season but the first third was incredibly impressive as well as the 2017/18 season and despite the poor end to his tenure in Seville, over his 95 matches he averaged 1.46 points per game which would mean 55 points over a 38 game season which would have been enough to earn 8th place in the 2018/19 Premier League season, only 2 points behing Wolves. The former Atlético Madrid player favours a 3-4-2-1 in an attacking style which would excite the fans whilst the formation is very similar to the one in which Rafa implemented. This means the transfers will be to suite Quique’s 3-4-2-1.

Right wing back – Benjamin Henrichs. AS Moanco would look to recoup around £20 million for the German. The 22-year-old won’t fly forward to attack but playing as a wingback he would create some chances however he would offer more defensive solidity which would be required if Setién wants to revert to his Betis tactics. The former Leverkusen man averaged 4.2 tackles and interceptions per 90 in his 1827 minutes in Ligue 1 last season whilst committing 1.6 fouls and averaging 1 key pass. In comparison, DeAndre Yedlin averaged 2.9 tackles and interceptions, 1.4 fouls and 1 key pass despite Henrichs being 3 years his junior. Benjamin would offer more defensive solidity with more longevity and grow to suit the tactics more.

Centre back – Matija Nastasic, Schalke will ask for £20 million. The Serb is coming off a diassapointing season in German as Die Königsblauen just about fought of relegation despite finishing second the season before (even though xG said Leipzig should’ve finished second and Schalke were very lucky). The former Man City player started 28 league games and played a total of 2451 minutes, he averaged 2.7 tackles and interceptions. He also averages 44.2 passes with an 82.7% pass accuracy which includes 3.9 long balls which isn’t outstanding but adequate for Newcastle and would improve under Quique Setién.

Left Wing Back – Júnior Firpo, he flourished under Quique and would cost £20 million to £25 million. The Euro under-21 winner has played with Quique at Betis so won’t have to adapt to his tactics so can bed-in quickly and can even be used as a mouth piece for the manager like Jérémy Pied was for Claude Puel at Southampton. The Spanish international has rose to prominence over the last few years with some stand-out performances for El Glorioso and the stats back it up as in the 2018/19 season he averaged 2.6 tackles and interceptions, 1.3 dribbles, 0.8 key passes and 0.8 shots per 90 which led to him getting 3 goals and 4 assists in 1937 La Liga minutes despite Betis’ drop off in the last 2 thirds of the season which means you can expect more from him.

Central Midfielder – Florian Grillitsch, Hoffenheim would look for £25 million to £30 million for the Austrian midfielder. The 23-year-old has gained many plaudits as he is coming off a stellar season for Die Kraichgauer. He racked up a total of 2395 minutes in which he played at central midfield, defensive midfield and even in centre back. He has experience playing for one of the most exciting managers in Julian Nagelsmann which also means he is used to an attacking 5 at the back system and will offer tactical versatility. The former Werder Bremen man averaged a huge 5 tackles and interceptions, 1.1 shots (0.8 from outside the box which can be coached to shoot from better positions especially seen as he scored 0 goals), 0.9 key passes (which earnt him 3 assists), 51.6 passes with an 83.5% pass accuracy which included 3.5 successful long balls per 90 during the 2018/19 season. Things like shot location and pass accuracy will be improved under Quique and he became an important cog to how they play.

(If Sean Longstaff leaves for £50 million then:

Central Midfielder – Jordan Veretout. The 26-year-old is coming of a good season in Florence despite La Viola finishing 16th, just 2 places off relegation. In the 2018/19 season he started 33 matches and played 2944 minutes in which he scored 5 and got 3 assists as Fiorentina scored a disappointing 47 goals which ended up being the 8th worse in the division. He is an all action midfielder as he averaged 3.3 tackles and interceptions, 1.2 shots (0.8 from outside the box so his shot location will need improving) along with a healthy 2.3 key passes per 90. He also averaged 55 passes with an 81.8% pass accuracy which would improve next to Grillitsch. Both would offer a lot defensively and offensively as they can do both, Quique could operate them both as box to box midfielder or in any various roles due to their all-round game. He did play for Aston Villa in their horror 2015/16 season which saw them get relegated but he has matured and improved in Italy and deserves another chance in the Premier League.

Centre back: Nikola Milenkovic. The Serbian centre back is coming off a good season in Italy in which he has gained a lot of attention for his performances as he started 34 matches playing 3010 minutes in which he netted 3 times. The 6’4” man averaged 3.1 tackles and interceptions whilst committing 2 fouls per 90 which led to 7 yellow cards, this shows he’s still rash and immature but working in Setién’s team, he would mature into a more well-rounded defender. He averaged 48.5 passes with a success of 79.9% coupled with 3.6 long balls per 90, in Setién’s system this would improve, and he would be more assured on the ball. His side only conceded 45 goals, the 6th best in the league, 1 better than third places Atalanta.

Together, Fiorentina would look for around £50 million for them as Veretout would cost about £20 million and Milenkovic would cost around £30 million.)

Winger – Marcus Thuram, Guingamp would accept a bid of £20 million for the Frenchman. The son of Lilian Thuram carried an uninspiring Guimgamp attack who only scored 28 goals during the 2018/19 season in which Marcus contributed 9 goals and 1 assist, this meant he was directly involved in 35.7% of their goals. However as impressive as this, according to understat’s model for expected goals (xG), he should’ve scored 10.62 and had 2.56 assists which puts him on 0.46 goal contributions per 90 for a side that finished last in Ligue 1 and only averaged 0.74 goals per 90 which would mean he would’ve been directly involved of 62% of their goals. The 21-year-old (turns 22 in August) played off the left during the 2018/19 season but can also play as a striker and could learn to play off the right. At 6’2” he can also a be an aerial threat showing he is very versatile as he is also lightning quick when running with the ball.

Winger – Ollie Watkins, Brentford would look for £20 million for the former Exeter player. The 23-year-old is coming off an impressive season for Brentford despite the Bees stuttering. In 3127 minutes, he scored 10 goals and scored 6 assists, a goal involvement every 195 minutes for a side that finished 11th as he averaged 2.2 shots (only 0.6 from outside of the box) and 1.7 key passes with 1 dribbler per 90 during the 2018/19 season. He has been touted for a move to Southampton so Newcastle would have to move quickly as he is well sort after but if Quique can offer him first team football, he’d surely be keen on the move to St. James Park.

Striker – Neal Maupay, Brentford are asking for £15 million for the striker. The 22-year-old has also impressed for Brentford during the 2018/19 season in which he played 3719 minutes as he scored 25 goals and got 8 assists in the Championship which meant he averaged a goal involvement every 113 minutes. The former Nice man averaged 3.3 shots (a healthy 0.9 from outside the box) with 1.3 key passes per 90 over the course of the 2018/19 season.

Although Ollie Watkins and Neal Maupay are coming from the Championship so would be labelled as “Championship quality” which would contradict my previous statement that Newcastle need less Championship quality and more Premier League quality. However, these 2 are clearly too good for the Championship, with no disrespect to the Championship, they are clearly ready for the step up to the Premier League and where better than at Newcastle where they’ll be given the opportunities along with another young talent in Marcus Thuram and for an attacking and interesting manager in Quique Setién.

How Leicester’s summer should go

Here is Leicester’s squad:

Goalkeepers:

Kasper Schmeichel – 38 league starts – 3420 minutes

Danny Ward – 0 league starts – 0 minutes

Eldin Jakupovic – 0 league starts – 0 minutes

Defenders:

Ben Chilwell – 36 league starts – 3240 minutes

Çaglar Söyüncü – 4 league starts + 2 subs – 372 minutes

Wes Morgan – 21 league starts + 1 sub – 1926 minutes

Jonny Evans – 21 league starts + 3 subs – 1995 minutes

Ricardo Pereira – 35 league starts – 3125 minutes

Harry Maguire – 31 league starts – 2599 minutes

Filip Benkovic (returning from loan at Celtic) – 17 league starts + 3 subs –

Christian Fuchs – 2 league starts + 1 sub – 206 minutes

James Justin (joined from Luton Town) – 35 league starts + 8 subs –

Midfielders:

Demarai Gray – 23 league starts + 11 subs – 1996 minutes

James Maddison – 35 league starts + 1 sub – 2850 minutes

Marc Albrighton – 18 league starts + 9 subs – 1627 minutes

Daniel Amartey – 7 league starts + 2 subs – 641 minutes

Harvey Barnes – 11 league starts + 5 subs – 1010 minutes

Adrien Silva (returning from loan at AS Monaco) – 14 league starts + 3 subs – 1271 minutes

Nampalys Mendy – 23 league starts + 8 subs – 2089 minutes

Wilfred Ndidi – 37 league starts + 1 sub – 3299 minutes

Rachid Ghezzal – 8 league starts + 11 subs – 739 minutes

Bartosz Kaputska (returning from loan at OH Leuven) – 18 league starts + 2 subs – 1535 minutes

Andy King (returning from loan at Derby County) – 2 league starts + 2 subs – 152 minutes

Hamza Choudhury – 7 league starts + 2 subs – 597 minutes

Forwards:

Kelchi Iheanacho – 9 league starts + 21 subs – 931 minutes

Jamie Vardy – 30 league starts + 4 subs – 2733 minutes

Islam Slimani (returning from loan at Fenerbahçe) – 14 league starts + 1 sub – 1255 minutes

Fousseni Diabaté (returning from loan at Sivasspor) – 16 league starts + 1 sub – 1418 minutes

Ayoze Pérez (joined from Newcastle United) – 34 league starts + 3 subs – 2928 minutes

Season recap:

Despite changing managers in February and these managers having contrasting playstyles and tactics, Leicester’s 2018/19 season was still a success. The foxes won 15, drew 7 and lost 16 ending the season with 52 points which earnt them a 9th place finish, just 5 points off 7th placed Wolves which was an overall improvement from the 2017/18 season as they earnt 5 more points but also finished 9th. In the 2018/19 season they had the equal 11th best attack along with Crystal Palace as they both scored 51 goals, a decrease from the previous season as they had the best attack behind the “top six” having scored 56 goals, and they had the equal 7th best defence alongside with Newcastle ahead of Man United and Arsenal who conceded 54 and 51 respectively, conceding 51 was an improvement from the 2017/18 season in which they had the 5th worst defence conceding 60 goals which was more than 2 out of the 3 relegated teams from that season.

In the EFL Cup, Leicester made it to the quarterfinals having beaten Liverpool and Leeds 2-0 and 3-1 respectively along the way before being beaten by eventual champions Man City on penalties as their cup run came to an end. In the FA Cup they didn’t endure as much success as they got knocked out by then League Two side, Newport County in the third round in a game which saw Pádraig Amond score a later winner for the Welsh side after Rachid Ghezzal scored the equaliser in the 82nd minute to give Leicester hope.

Leicester started the season with a very defensive manager in Claude Puel before he was given the sack in February as the fans grew tired of his tactics and Leicester not getting the results despite them having the 5th best defence in the league according to expected goals (xG) when he was sacked, the reason for their defence underperforming in xG defensively could be down to individual mistakes which were prominent, their goalkeeper not being good enough or merely just unlucky. Claude Puel was replaced by former Liverpool and Swansea manager, Brendan Rodgers who implemented a more attacking and possession-based side as he moved them away from the defensive and counter attacking tactics the squad has become accustomed to.

Transfers:

With Leicester having recently rejected a £70 million bid for Harry Maguire from Man United, it is clear the Englishmen is highly sought after and if he does leave, it will be for a record fee for a defender as Leicester are looking for £80-£90 million and are in a strong bargaining position as he signed a 5 year contract last summer as well as him being grateful to the club so won’t push for a move away from the King Power. The Midlands club also have some deadwood they’ll be looking to get off the wage bill this summer. After already having signed Justin and Pérez for a combined £38 million, it is rumoured Leicester still have around £40 million left to spend.

Adrien Silva (£10-£15 million) and Islam Slimani (£5 million) As previously mentioned, Maguire has been subject off a move to Old Trafford for a record fee for a defender and United have already bid over his valuation so when they come back for the proclaimed “slabhead”, Leicester should take the offer which will be between £80 million and £90 million. Although Demarai Gray is still very young (23 at time of writing) when he is valued at £20-£30 million you should take that seen as he hasn’t kicked on since joining from Birmingham in 2016 to cut their losses on the “Demarai Gray project” and take a very good profit from it in which they could use that money to put towards a more useful player. Ever since joining from Sporting Lisbon in 2018, Adrien Silva has never been able to be a main stay at Leicester but did enjoy some success on loan at Monaco in the second half of the 2018/19 season as he helped the Les Monégasques fight off the possibility of relegation to Ligue 2 and with the Portuguese midfielder valued at £10-£15 million, this should be another transfer Leicester should cut their losses on. Just like with Algerian striker they also signed from Sporting Lisbon which further backs up the claim that it is hard to judge a player coming from the Liga Nos, Slimani broke Leicester’s club record fee but he only netter 8 times in 35 for the foxes and has had 2 dissapointing loan spells since at Newcastle and Fenerbahçe in which he scored 0 in 4 for the Magpies and 1 in 15 for the Turkish club, he is now only valued at £5 million and at 31-years-old they should take it before the value diminishes any further.

With these departures, this will raise Leicester’s transfer budget to about £160 million but with some serious areas to address. Leicester have a lot of young promising players that would want to be loaned out to get extra game time to help further develop them and gain match experience such as Benkovic, Kaputska, Iheanacho and Diabaté which could be loaned out to lower Premier League, championship or Ligue 1 sides.

Transfers In:

Centre back – Yeray Álvarez, buyout clause €30 million (£26.9 million). The Basque born centre back was a mainstay in Bilbao’s defence during the 2018/19 season as he started 30 league matches and clocked up 2614 minutes as they finished 8th, only missing out to Europa League qualifiers on goal difference to Espanyol. The 24-year-old completes 3.9 tackles and interceptions per 90 however he would have to improve his passing as he only averages 42.8 passes per 90 with an 80.1% pass accuracy whilst completing 3 long balls per 90, the lack of passes is down to Athletic Bilbao’s playstyle not relying on possession.

Centre back – Malang Sarr, would cost about £20 million to get him out of Nice. The Frenchman was ever present in the league as he started 34 league matches and was subbed on once as he played a total of 2995 minutes as Nice finished 7th and only conceded 35 goals, the same as PSG and only 2 more than Lille who boasted the best defence in Ligue 1. Malang completed 3.6 tackles and interceptions per 90 which is caveated with 59.5 passes per 90 with an 89.8% pass accuracy whilst also completing 3.9 long balls per 90. At the under 21s Euros he has shown he can be more involved in play as he has averaged 77.5 passes per 90 with an 91.6% pass accuracy along with 5 long balls completed per 90.

In comparison, Harry Maguire averaged 2.2 tackles and interceptions per 90 whilst completing 62.3 passes per 90 with an 88.8% pass accuracry as well as completing 4 long balls per 90. These stats show that Álvarez and Sarr can share the passing burden or one of them can take that role. These acquisitions would put less reliance on just one centre back whilst adding further depth and lowering the average age which could help if Leicester want to have sustained success.

Centre midfielder – Youri Tielemans, AS Monaco are asking for around £40 million, other top clubs are rumoured to be interested but the Belgian is keen on a return to Leicester after enduring success when on loan there during the second half of the 2018/19 season. He quickly became a fan favourite after putting in top performances. At Leicester he started 13 games in which he played a total of 1092 minutes, in these minutes he got 3 goals and 4 assists, the best in both within Leicester’s midfield since joining, averaging a goal involvement every 156 minutes compared to Man City’s David Silva who averaged a goal involvement every 172 minutes. The 22-year-old averaged 1.7 tackles and interceptions, 1.2 key passes, 49.3 passes with an 85% pass accuracy, 0.5 through balls and 2.4 shots all per 90 showing he can do everything and help-out in defence and offensive for the Foxes.

Winger – Malcom, Barcelona are looking to recoup the £35 million they spent on the Brazilian only a year after buying him from Bordeaux. In his only season with the Blaugrana, he played 608 league minutes so for a more accurate set of statistics, I’ll be using his numbers from his last season with Bordeaux, the 2017/18 season. In that season he started 32 times and was subbed on 3 times in the league totalling to 2867 minutes in which he scored 12 times and assisted his team mates 7 times, averaging a goal involvement every 152 minutes. He also averaged 2.1 shots (0.8 in the box), 2.5 key passes and 2.6 dribbles per 90 compared to Riyad Mahrez for Leicester when they won the league in the 2015/16 season where he averaged 2.3 shots (1.3 in the box), 1.8 key passes and 3.5 dribbles per 90. If they give Malcom consistent game time, then in Bredan Rodger’s side he should be able to replicate his form from 2017/18 that earnt his move to the Nou Camp.

Striker – Aleksander Mitrović, Fulham would reportedly accept a £30 million offer. During the 2018/19 season, the Serb carried a lacklustre Fulham as in 3282 minutes he scored 11 and got 3 assists but tailed off as after Fulham’s 4-2 win against Brighton on the 29th January, he only scored once more in the league. If Brendan Rodgers can keep Mitrović working hard, he will replicate his form from the first half of the season which would put less onus of Vardy to get the goals. He is 6’2” and can also be a target man meaning he can bring others into play more and with Leicester’s other attacking players such as Vardy, Albrighton, Maddison and maybe Malcom then the former Newcastle man could be pivotal to Leicester. Within his 3282 minutes, the 24-year-old averaged 3.5 shots (only 1 from outside the box) and 6.5 aerial battles won per 90 which would be a useful asset for Leicester to have an aerial threat and offer something different.

These signings would total £150 million which would be within their budget of £160 million after sales whilst making the squad more competitive and lowering the average age of the squad. With the acquisitions and Brendan Rodgers, Leicester could push for the top 6 with Wolves if Arsenal and Man United continue to falter defensively.

How Arsenal’s summer should go

Arsenal’s current squad looks like this:

Goalkeepers:

Petr Cech (retiring) – 7 league starts – 588 mins

Bernd Leno – 32 league starts + 1 sub – 2833 mins

David Ospina (returning from loan with Napoli) – 26 league starts + 1 sub – 1457 mins

Emiliano Martinez (returning from loan with Reading) – 18 league starts – 1620 mins

Defenders:

Hector Bellerin – 19 league starts + 1 sub – 1535 mins

Sokratis Papastathopoulos – 25 league starts – 2199 mins

Laurent Koscielny – 13 league starts + 4 subs – 1330 mins

Stephan Lichtsteiner – 10 league starts + 4 subs – 941 mins

Rob Holding – 9 league starts + 1 sub – 807 mins

Nacho Monreal – 21 league starts + 1 sub – 1861 mins

Shkodran Mustafi – 31 league starts – 2617

Carl Jenkinson – 2 league starts + 1 sub – 167 mins

Konstantinos Mavropanos – 3 league starts + 1 sub – 150 mins

Sead Kolasinac – 22 league starts + 2 subs – 1891 mins

Calum Chambers (returning from loan with Fulham) – 29 league starts + 2 subs – 2587 mins

Midfielders:

Mohamed Elneny – 5 league starts + 3 subs – 381 mins

Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 19 league starts + 6 subs – 1645 mins

Aaron Ramsey (leaving on a free transfer) – 14 league starts + 14 subs – 1331 mins

Mesut Ozil – 20 league starts + 4 subs – 1742 mins

Lucas Torreira – 24 league starts + 10 subs – 2381 mins

Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 11 league starts + 5 subs – 986 mins

Takuma Asano (returning from loan with Hannover 96) – 9 starts + 4 subs – 702 minutes

Matteo Guendouzi – 23 league starts + 10 subs – 2144 mins

Granit Xhaka – 29 league starts – 2502 mins

Forwards:

Alexandre Lacazette – 27 league starts + 8 subs – 2507 mins

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 30 league starts + 6 subs – 2733 mins

Alex Iwobi – 22 league starts + 13 subs – 1976 mins

Danny Welbeck (contract is expiring) – 1 start + 7 subs – 148 mins

Eddie Nketiah – 0 league starts + 5 subs – 63 mins

Reiss Nelson (returning from loan with Hoffenheim) – 5 starts + 18 subs – 630 minutes

Season recap:

After finishing 5th in the league with 70 points (won 21, drew 7, lost 10) and a +22 goal difference with 73 goals scored (3rd best, only bettered by free scoring Man City and Liverpool) and 51 conceded (9th best), it shows some progression under Unai Emery compared to Arsene Wenger’s last season in which they finished 6th with 63 points (won 19, drew 6, lost 13) and a +23 goal difference with 74 goals scored (equal third best) and 51 conceded (8th best and only 5 less than West Brom who finished last).

In the EFL Cup they got to the quarterfinals before knocked out by Tottenham 2-0 at the Emirates whilst in the FA Cup they got to the fourth round before falling short against then a resurgent Man United (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s 8th game in charge) as they lost 3-1 at the Emirates. Whilst in the Europa League they lost 4-1 in the final to London rivals Chelsea despite impressive ties against Napoli and Valencia in which they won both games against both of them. With all this, Arsenal will play their third consecutive season in the Europa League after 19 successive seasons (between 1998-99 and 2016-17) in the Champions League, an English record and only topped by Real Madrid in Europe.

Transfers:

It has clear they need wide talent as well as defensive reinforcements but with a reported transfer budget of £40 million (which would’ve risen to £100 million had they qualified for the Champions League) according to the daily star, they will have to spend wisely.

With Cech retiring and Napoli trying to get Ospina on a permanent deal for around £4 million, Emiliano Martinez will surely be the back-up goalkeeper as their budget doesn’t allow many transfers.

Stephan Lichtsteiner’s contract expiring in the summer and Hector Bellerin being out with an ACL injury, Arsenal will need a new right back/right wing back despite Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Calum Chambers being able to play there, a new right back will be required. As well as a new centre back and the sale of Shkodran Mustafi after 3 seasons with the Gunners, the 27-year-old is valued at £27 millions by transfermarkt with AC Milan reportedly interested in the German international. And Nacho Monreal’s contract also expiring in the summer, cover for Sad Kolasinac will be required.

With Aaron Ramsey’s departure to Juventus, this will free up space on the wage bill. Mesut Ozil has come under criticism and often dropped this season, so the sale of him and the disappointing Henrikh Mkhitaryan (values at £31.5 million and £27 million respectively) will not only give more money to spend on transfers but also free up spaces in the squad and money for wages but reinforcements in the midfield will be required.

Danny Welbeck’s contract expiring and not many young forwards, Arsenal will need another striker and winger for their frontline.

With the sales of Mustafi, Ozil and Mkhitaryan for their values, that is another £85.5 million to spend, bringing their total transfer budget to £125.5 million.

Transfers in:

Right back: Enock Kwateng (22 years-old) has his contract with Nantes expiring this summer, he would be a smart acquisition on a free transfer. He has made 22 starts (and 8 substitute appearance) this season for Nantes in the league, racking up 2040 minutes. Enock makes 4.8 tackles and interceptions per 90 and is dribbled past 1.2 times per 90, compared to Hector Bellerin who makes 1.9 tackles and interceptions per 90 and is dribbled past 0.4 times per 90 so Enock Kwateng looks to be the better defensive player but on the offensive side, Kwateng has 0.2 shots per 90 with 0.6 key passes and 0.8 dribbles compared to Bellerin’s 0.9 shots per game, 0.4 key passes and 0.8 dribbles. Kwateng makes more defensive actions has he plays for a team who has less possession (49.8% compared to Arsenal’s 55.2%) but despite this, his offensive stats look similar to Bellerin’s. He will be a free transfer,at 22 and looking at his stats, it is very low risk and work getting done for Arsenal.

Centre back: Nathan Ake (24 years-old) is valued at £25.2 million by transfermakt but Bournemouth would probably sell for around £30 million, around what Mustafi would be leaving for but on lower wages. Ake has been deployed in a 5 at the back formation with the Cherries so would slot into Arsenal’s defence without a long transition period and having played for Chelsea he has experience at a top club despite not getting many appearances with the Blues. Ake has played 3412 minutes this season for the South coast side, in those minutes he averages 2.5 tackles and interceptions per 90 with 0.9 blocks and a 86% pass accuracy despite his 1.9 long balls per 90, compare this to Shkodran Mustafi’s numbers which read like this, 3.6 tackles and intercepions per 90 with 0.5 blocks and a 81.9% pass accuracy as well as 3.2 long passes. They profile somewhat differently which will be down to the difference in playstyle between Bournemouth and Arsenal but as Ake is 3 years Mustafi’s junior, he has time on his side and can adapt to Unai Emery’s system.

Left back: Sergio Reguilon, the Spanish international turns 23 in December so is a young option. The Los Blancos man is valued at £15m by transfermarkt and had impressive performances racking up a total of 1482 minutes across the league and Champions League but since Zinedine Zidane has returned to the helm of Real Madrid, Reguilon’s minutes have massively fallen and he is apparently allowed to leave for £10 million which will be one of the bargains of the summer if he can replicate his performances for Real Madrid in North London. Despite not being favoured at the start of the season or under Zidane, Reguilon has still played 33% of the available minutes, keeping Marcelo out of the starting line-up.

Central midfielder: Pablo Sarabia, the Spaniard has a release clause of just £18 million and has had another outstanding season with Sevilla. In 3173 minutes across all competitions, he has got 30 goal contributions (16 goals and 14 assists), a goal contribution every 106 minutes. In comparison, Alexandre Lacazette averages a goal contribution every 105 minutes (20 goals and 10 assists in 3158 minutes). The midfielder who takes 2.3 shots per 90 (0.8 from outside the box) and has 2.1 key passes per 90 in the league (compared to Messi’s 2.7 who topped the league assist chart) which are both healthy numbers for a midfielder although he does only has 1.4 tackles and interceptions per 90 which no doubt increase as Arsenal average less possession than Sevilla. The 27-year-old has won the Europa League with Unai Emery at Sevilla so would bring experience as well as a bond with Unai.

Attacking midfielder: James Rodriguez, with Real Madrid having a squad overhaul this summer and looking to get rid of numerous players, Rodriguez was never favoured under Zidane so would be allowed to leave for a reasonable fee without any competition as no other big cubs touted for him this could be the perfect time to get James Rodriguez. The Colombian turns 28 in July but this season has played in numerous positions for Bayern Munich which includes at attacking midfield, central midfield as well as on either wing which is incredibly useful for Unai Emery’s tactics. The former Porto player played limited minutes, 1143 minutes in the Bundesliga for the Bavarians in which he scored 7 goals and got 3 assists. He averaged 2.6 key passes, 1.8 shots and 0.8 dribbles per 90 whilst David Silva averaged 2.1 key passes, 1.4 shots and 0.8 dribbles so his stats are in good company. The CIES value Rodriguez at £18 – £27 million so is in Arsenal’s price range and would help them challenge to get back into the Champions League which is ultimately Arsenal’s aim.

Winger: Brias Mendez, another player from La Liga with a low release clause (£22 million). The winger (can play on the left or down the centre but has played most of his minutes on the right) has 6 goals and 7 assists in 2354 league minutes this season. The Spaniard takes 2.3 shots per 90 and having 1.5 key passes per 90 whilst only being 22 years old. Celta Vigo also fought off relegation finishing 17th and 4 points off the relegation zone but once again that was down to their poor defence having the fourth worst defence in the league (conceding 62 goals). Brias averages 2.8 tackles and interceptions per 90 showing he can do some much-needed defensive work for the Gunners. Mendez finished third in the Celta Vigo squad for goals scored and topped the list for the squad despite Iago Aspas’ incredible season as former Liverpool player scored 20 and got 6 assists defining age as he turns 32 at the start of August.

The signings total between £98 million and £107 million, just shy of the transfer budget of £125.5 million (after sales) whilst also making the squad younger and more competitive with some part acquisitions that can fit work under Unai Emery.

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