Leandro Paredes has been linked with a January move to Arsenal and WhoScored.com explain why he’d be a good addtion.
You can never have enough central midfielders, at least in Arsenal’s case.
The summer arrival of Granit Xhaka means manager Arsene Wenger has ample options in the middle of the park, so much so that Jack Wilshere was forced to depart for Bournemouth in the hunt for regular first team action upon his recovery from injury.
Nevertheless, with Mohamed Elneny set to leave for the Africa Cup of Nations in January, Wenger could well be left short of options, particularly with an Arsenal injury crisis never too far away.
It’s seen the Gunners linked with a January move for Roma star Leandro Paredes. The Argentine has struggled to consolidate a starting spot under Luciano Spalletti this season, but has returned a vastly impressive WhoScored.com rating of 7.75 from his five Serie A starts this season.
The 22-year-old’s professional career is still in its infancy, but he has proven just how effective he can be when given the chance to impress.
Daniele De Rossi, Kevin Strootman and Radja Nainggolan are ahead of Paredes in the Roma pecking order at this point in time and with two-and-a-half years left to run on the youngster’s current deal at the Stadio Olimpico, the midfielder’s career is at something of a crossroads. De Rossi’s advancing years means the experienced Italian won’t hold down a regular starting spot at Roma forever, but a player of Paredes’ quality warrants regular game time, especially if he is to realise his immense potential.
Paredes spent last season on loan at Empoli, catching the attention of a number of Premier League sides, with Liverpool previously linked with a move for the midfielder, and for good reason. The player boasts a statistically calculated WhoScored.com strength of ‘taking set pieces’, with the Argentine player making 35 key passes from set pieces in Serie A since the start of last season, the fourth best return over that period.
Comparatively Arsenal have played just 15 key passes from dead ball situations in the Premier League this term, a relatively disappointing figure given the creative personnel available to Wenger.
Yet it isn’t just Paredes’ set piece tacking ability that stands him in good stead. Of players to make 10 or more Serie A appearances this season, an average of 2.7 interceptions per 90 minutes is among the best returns, while 2.5 tackles per game is also respectable.
The all-action displays in the middle of the park have certainly earned Paredes the adulation of his peers, while his distribution is also of the highest standard.
Of players to make 10 or more Serie A appearances, only Napoli’s Marek Hamsik (82.8) is playing more passes per 90 minutes than Paredes (76.7), while 101.3 passes per game in the Europa League is the best in the competition this season.
He is hugely effective when it comes to picking out a team-mate, with a 90.3 per cent success rate in Serie A and a 91.1 per cent pass accuracy in the Europa League both impressive.
While he is unlikely to carry the ball forward too frequently, his ability to pick out a team-mate after winning possession holds him in high esteem. While Arsenal look to be moving away from the possession-based approach into a more direct style, an average of 56.4 per cent possession is still the third highest in the Premier League this season.
The Gunners are inundated with midfield options, but it’s fair to say Paredes would be a better option than Elneny and Francis Coquelin in the middle of the park, particularly if Wenger wishes to bring in a player whose style is similar to that of Xhaka.