Should Arsenal Sign Hakan Calhanoglu?
Having been linked with Calhanoglu seemingly every year, it would be completely understandable to brush off the notion of signing him, perhaps even out of boredom.
What is apparent is that Arsenal are making contingency plans in case of failure to re-sign Martin Odegaard, an eventuality they absolutely have to account for.
But maybe they’re looking at additions, not alternatives?
Statistically, Calhanoglu is on another planet when it comes to creativity this season. Across the top five leagues, only Neymar and Lionel Messi have more shot creating actions (SCA90) than his 6.36, a figure that surpasses even Kevin De Bruyne. His 0.35 expected assists per 90 minutes (xA) put him comfortably in 12th across all players in the top five leagues and his 77 key passes (passes directly leading to a shot) is bettered by only Bruno Fernandes.
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Thus, statistically speaking, he’ll add the creativity in forward areas that Arteta is after. He’s also versatile, operating either in wide areas or in central midfield aside from his usual attacking midfield slot, and has superb dead ball ability. Arsenal have scored just four set piece goals all season, and just one from a direct free-kick.
Is he the creative midfielder Arsenal need or want? No, that’s Odegaard.
However, realistically, this team is lacking in quality. Actual quality. Calhanoglu is untested in the Premier League and comes with no certainties, but on manageable wages and with his ability he could suit as a solid squad option, even with Odegaard returning.
On the contrary, however, this is precisely what Arsenal should be gravitating away from. Supporters are sick of being a last stop in most players’ careers. The club they’ll play for before inevitably moving back to their boyhood club somewhere on the continent.
Is Calhanoglu different and in fact an opportunity that shouldn’t be wasted considering how cash-strapped Arsenal are? Similar to when a player over the age of 30 is still good enough to cut it and you bend your rules to offer them a two-year extension as opposed to 12 months, the Turkish midfielder could be an exception. Edu and Arteta sure feel that way.