Euro 2020 is here and what better time to unwind from the daily toils of Arsenal Football Club than to watch a whole host of players you wish played for Arsenal Football Club? International tournament football is a wonderful break from club action and one year late it’s finally on our doorstep.
Given it’s being played all across Europe there is every chance that it may, quite literally, be on your doorstep. And it’s across the 24 nations competing that there are midfielders whom would be of excellent service to Arsenal.
Granit Xhaka has bid auf wiedersehn to north London and what comes next will define whether or not he will be sorely missed or deemed a foolish sale. The progression had to happen sooner or later to make some inroads towards the rebuild that is afoot, but it’s the follow through that counts.
Ruben Neves has been heavily linked with the Gunners amid the Xhaka talk. That will not, however, suffice, purely in regards to numbers. Joe Willock will be sold for the right price, Dani Ceballos is gone, Matteo Guendouzi will go, Lucas Torreira will go, Xhaka is gone, Mohamed Elneny is fourth choice at best and Thomas Partey will, like the latter, be off in January for AFCON. Arsenal are so thin in that department.
Arsenal: 5 midfield transfer targets to watch at Euro 2020 as potential Granit Xhaka replacements
Some variety in that area of the pitch is needed. Willock certainly offers that but he also offers the chance of a welcome cash injection, while Ceballos offered something just not anything particularly appealing.
Numbers are as crucial as quality. No part of the squad will be as significantly overhauled and with Euro 2020 kicking off there will be a chance for recruitment teams and supporters alike to sink their teeth into some of the best midfielders on the continent.
Suiting to a variety of profiles, the following list features players who can slot into multiple roles and tactical setups as well as those fairly nailed on for one task. It’s a panoply of talent that could whet any personal appetite for how Arsenal could look.
Let’s dive in.
1. Florian Neuhaus
Club: Borussia Mönchengladbach
Price: £35-£40m (>€40m release clause)
Two-footed, nimble, agile and probably going to be part of the German side that eliminates England from the tournament in the knockout stages, if you’re looking for an exciting player in Die Mannschaft’s ranks then Floran Neuhaus is your man.
He does, however, have serious competition in the centre of the park for his national side with Joshua Kimmich, Ilkay Gundogan and Toni Kroos just a few of the outstanding names ahead of him in the pecking order.
Should he make an appearance then be prepared for a line-breaking midfielder who is coolness personified under pressure. Neuhaus invites it (10.82 passes under pressure for 95th percentile), evades it and progresses the ball: he averages 5.83 progressive passes per 90 (86th percentile) and 0.3 through balls (93rd percentile), all of which come after delightful trickery in the centre of the park. His two-footedness and diminutive style are divine when in full flow.
It’s a real shame the German’s have top options in that department as Neuhaus can bring so much to the table. Much like Santi Cazorla he isn’t blessed with pace, instead using intelligence and timing to break lines and maintain high tempo in matches. A special talent, and he plays on the left of a midfield pair. Oh yes.