With the summer transfer window finally open, the rumour mill is churning in full effect once again. Arsenal are said to be on the search for numerous additions to their squad, with central midfield a key focus.
Names of supposed targets are flying around social media platforms with the likes of Ruben Neves, Yves Bissouma and Albert Sambi Lokonga forming the subject of much conversation among the Arsenal faithful.
Neves is someone the Gunners have been tracking on a potential £35m deal, the talk of Bissouma currently seems mostly fan-driven, while Lokonga continues to be linked with a north London switch and a transfer grows increasingly more plausible.
Nonetheless, one man who Arsenal are yet to be linked with this summer is Aston Villa’s John McGinn, and it’s difficult to understand why.
Arsenal should target Aston Villa’s John McGinn this summer transfer window as a different profile to Granit Xhaka who can partner Thomas Partey
With Granit Xhaka’s move to AS Roma on the brink of completion, it has been questioned whether Mikel Arteta would want to replace the Swiss with a like-for-like player profile, or, perhaps, move in a different direction. A move for McGinn would certainly be representative of a move in a different direction.
The Scottish international who looks set to play a crucial role for his national side at the upcoming European Championships possesses a profile which deeply contrasts Xhaka’s. McGinn is a nightmare to play against. He never stops running, he’s a strong carrier of the ball and he’s not afraid to break into his opposition’s penalty area.
Xhaka, on the other hand, is infamously immobile, prefers to progress the ball via a pass rather than a dribble and often looks like something of a lost sheep in the 18-yard-box. Nonetheless, McGinn and Xhaka do share two key things in common – the position they played for the majority of the 20/21 season, and their left-footedness.
Both players spent a fair chunk of their campaign operating on the left side of a double pivot in a 4-2-3-1. Granted, they played in such roles very differently, but maybe different is exactly what Arsenal need to go up a level. The ferocity of McGinn’s game would indeed add some much needed dynamism to an Arsenal midfield which often felt very stale during the 2020/21 campaign. Let’s take a statistical look.