The mooted swap deal between Manchester City and Arsenal over Alexis Sanchez and Sergio Aguero could be one of the rare transfers that sees both clubs and players equally happy.
- Alexandre Lacazette’s Arsenal shirt number
- Lacazette to Arsenal: Strengths, weaknesses, & how he’ll fit
I will not discuss City’s need for Alexis. Nor will I discuss Alexis’ desire to move to Manchester due to his obsession with Oasis and Coronation Street.
But the possibility of Sergio Aguero arriving at the London Colney is an intriguing and exciting prospect.
If the Chilean is a diablo cabernet, bold and assertive with the ability to overpower the lighter, more subtle influencers of the game (think Özil and Silva), then Sergio Aguero is a succulent Argentinian steak – the key ingredient, the main reason for playing the game, the goal-getter.
There is little doubt as to how influential Alexis has been for Arsenal. Predominantly played as a left-sided forward, the Chilean still contributed 24 goals and 10 assists in 36 Premier League appearances last season. He is a menace, a destructive force (sometimes even to the detriment of Arsenal).
A pass completion rate of 73.6% is the second lowest of any outfield player at the club.
This could suggest that he is careless with his passing (which he sometimes is) but the truth is that Alexis often tries to cause as much damage to the opposition as he can viably manage – and this often means attempting the riskier pass.
However, as a forward, there is a suggestion that Alexis’ passes the ball too frequently. His necessity for doing so comes from dropping deep thus prohibiting him from shooting or dribbling towards goal.
This is one problem that Aguero does not suffer from.
The explosive forward knows his remit: goals. In 25 games last season, the Argentinian scored 20 goals from a total of 4.5 shots per game. In an average Premier League game, Aguero passes the ball 25 times; that is almost half as much as Alexis. This in itself demonstrates the sole focus of Aguero.
He knows he is the best goalscorer on the pitch; why should he pass?
In recent years, Wenger has toyed with the idea of playing Alexis through the middle in an attempt to recreate the Suarez effect at Liverpool. Although Alexis shares many of the same attributes, he simply isn’t as clinical as Suarez and can often frustrate. Aguero, on the other hand, is the definition of clinical.
Wenger broke his transfer record to bring Mesut Özil to the club. He was the player who was set to take Arsenal to the next stage in their development. Yet Özil has struggled to consistently demonstrate the skill and vision that many fans witnessed in Madrid.
Özil is the equivalent of Brian May – incredibly gifted and, in his own right, an extraordinary talent. But without a lead frontman, he’s going to find it difficult to keep a crowd of 60,000 entertained. Aguero could be that frontman. The exciting, energetic and electrifying Freddy Mercury to our Brian May.
Someone to feed off Özil’s willingness to give.
Criticism has often been levelled at Walcott, Welbeck and, to a lesser extent, Giroud for not being clinical inside the box. Their movement and often ponderous shooting has seen Ozil’s three key passes per game often go to waste.
If Wenger is to lose Alexis, then it is not money he should be looking but a lead frontman in return.
Arsenal were the fifth highest goalscorers in the league last season; that they finished fifth in the league is no surprise. A lack of defensive organisation has regularly been forgiven because of the nature of how they play. However, this is no longer the case. With Arsenal moving away from defensive buffoonery, the attacking side of the game has suffered.
Whilst there is no doubt that Alexis will be a loss to Arsenal, it is goals that they need. Arsene and Arsenal have always prided themselves on being entertainers in the past. There’s nothing more entertaining than a goal. Let Aguero do what he does best.