Florian Lejeune has been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal, but it seems like Newcastle could actually be the ones about to land him So what’s all the fuss about?
Let’s take a deeper look at the player.
The 26-year-old defender was reported as a transfer target for Arsenal in March as the club were expected to meet his £8.7 million release clause this summer. This doesn’t seem to have happened (shocker) and now Newcastle have allegedly done it instead.
Lejeune was one of the best defenders in La Liga last season and a large part of the reason Eibar took everyone by surprise by finishing eighth despite many expecting them to fight relegation.
Lejune has played 37 games for Eibar, three of those in Copa del Rey, and has managed to score one goal and assist another. His form last season was marvellous as he achieved an average rating of 7.01 in the league.
Before establishing himself as a first team starter at Eibar, Lejeune has spent most of his career moving from one loan to another.
He played for Villareal, making only five appearances before being sold to La Liga 2 side, Girona.
After a season in the Spanish second tier of football, Manchester City brought him to the Etihad but the player was once again loaned out after failing to make a single appearance.
Lejeune is one of the more cautious defenders around.
He doesn’t often dive into tackles but rather positions himself in a way that he can deter any ongoing forwards. He’s great at reading passes and has recorded an average of 2.1 interceptions per-game.
When he gets the ball he doesn’t allow himself to be put under pressure and often opts for the simplest solution, even if it means clearing the ball as far away as possible.
His main strength is his height and physical strength. At 6ft2 and 12.75st, he’s one of the bigger defenders around and there aren’t many players who can push him about.
He’s won 77.70 percent of all his aerial duels and he makes on average 0.53 fouls per-game which is quite low for a defender in a league like La Liga.
His passing is clearly not his strongest ability, averaging around a 75% completion rate.
Other than that, there are no significant weaknesses in his game.
At 26-years-old, Lejeune is yet to hit his prime years as a defender.
Although he had trouble in the past, last season really showed everyone what stable surroundings do for a player, and how a bit of faith can change a whole career.
Lejeune wasn’t expected to rise to the level he achieved last season and if he were given a shot, there is little doubt that he would be a valuable asset to the current
Arsenal Newcastle squad.
His release fee of £8.7 million is more than reasonable considering what he’d bring to any squad.