HomeTransfersXavi Simons passes Arsenal summer transfer test as Mikel Arteta solves three-year...

Xavi Simons passes Arsenal summer transfer test as Mikel Arteta solves three-year problem

Xavi Simons passes Arsenal summer transfer test as Mikel Arteta solves three-year problem

Approximately one year into his role as Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta identified a significant issue within his team – a deficiency in scoring goals from midfield.

Throughout the 2020/21 season, midfielders Mohamed Elneny, Thomas Partey, Dani Ceballos, and Granit Xhaka collectively scored only four goals in all competitions.

In contrast, the more attack-minded players like Willian, Emile Smith Rowe, and Martin Odegaard contributed a total of seven goals.


“It’s very clear. If you say ‘can they do it?’ it’s a question mark. Have they done it in the past? The answer is no,” Arteta said in December 2020.

“We haven’t had any goals from midfield, it’s not something that happened [just] this year, it happened in other years and is something that has to be addressed.

“To change the qualities and characteristics of players is very, very difficult. A big team needs players in midfield who score goals. They need central defenders that score goals from set-pieces to add to that. If you start to lose those margins, you start to lose points, you start to be away from the top team, this is not any science.”

Arsenal witnessed significant improvement in the 2021/22 season, particularly with the performances of Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard, who contributed 11 and seven goals, respectively, in all competitions.

This marked a positive development as it indicated that Mikel Arteta had successfully addressed the goal-scoring issue, eliminating the need for reliance on a single player.

Martin Odegaard emerged as the highest-scoring midfielder throughout the entire Premier League, and he finished the season as Arsenal’s joint-leading scorer with 15 goals, alongside Gabriel Martinelli.

Furthermore, Granit Xhaka had his most impressive campaign to date, capping it off with a two-goal performance against Wolves on the final day, bringing his goal tally to seven.

Indeed, Granit Xhaka’s shift towards making an impact in the attacking third was accompanied by a change in his role on the field. Previously known for his position as a deeper-lying midfielder, where he was responsible for controlling the game and disrupting the opponent’s attacks, Xhaka began to find himself venturing into the penalty box more frequently.

In this new setup, he operated as one of two central midfielders, alongside Thomas Partey and Odegaard, in what is commonly referred to as the “eight” role. This adjustment allowed Xhaka more opportunities to contribute offensively and join the attack.

“Yeah especially here [points at head]. When you think you are going to score, you score. And when you score one, you believe in the next one you are going to score,” Arteta said when asked about the 30-year-old netting against Leeds United. “And when you score again, you believe in the next one you are going to score. Great finish, great run, great timing, so happy for him. They need to contribute with goals.”

According to information from football.london, Granit Xhaka is reportedly in advanced discussions with Bayer Leverkusen for a £13 million transfer, suggesting he is likely to leave Arsenal this summer.

As a result, the club will need to find a suitable replacement for him. This is where the potential signings of Xavi Simons and Gabri Veiga make sense, as they possess qualities that align with Mikel Arteta’s requirements for an attacking midfielder.

Both Simons and Veiga had an impressive season in their respective domestic leagues, scoring double figures in terms of goals. This goal-scoring output meets the criteria that Arteta seeks in an attacking midfielder for his team.

Therefore, the links to these players appear to be logical and in line with Arsenal’s objectives in strengthening their squad.

“An incredible season for a No 10 of Arsenal means he needs to score 15 goals and give 10 assists,” the Spaniard said of Smith Rowe – an alternative option to Simons and Veiga following the club’s recent transfer decision. “Then you are right up there with the top guys in Europe and in the league.”

Xavi Simons passes Arsenal summer transfer test as Mikel Arteta solves three-year problem


Related News

- Advertisement -