Rarely do we see defensive midfielders of Denis Zakaria‘s ilk who are quite as technically astute. Moreover, it’s practically unheard of to see them so able on the ball when standing at 6ft 3in tall. The 24-year-old is a man mountain.
But not just any giant, he’s an elegant one.
While set up to protect his back four, an area of his game that continues to be improved weekly, he fits more into the box-to-box mould. Sheer stature and drive allow him to bully his way up the pitch, both easing the strain on his fellow defenders while equally sparking attacking moves.
Were it not for a long-term knee injury sustained back in March, he would no longer be at Borussia Mönchengladbach. That is of no disrespect to the German outfit, only that Zakaria was being courted across Europe prior to that setback, one he returned from at the beginning of November.
It’s not common to be as excited watching holding midfielders, but Zakaria is the total package. He’ll gladly be unfazed soaking up pressure, only to spring into action and apply it himself. He wouldn’t just slot into Arsenal’s midfield, he’d own it. Him and Thomas Partey would be heavenly.
Securing him in January is another matter. It’d be a decent outlay – his deal expires in summer 2022 – but it’d indubitably be worth it. Arsenal fans can banish their preconceptions of Swiss midfielders from Gladbach, he’s differnet.