Lucas Torreira could be on his way out of Arsenal this summer. Even if he isn’t, Mikel Arteta might look to improve on him. Here are three statistically-based replacements who would be good options.
Lucas Torreira could be on his way out of Arsenal. Calcio Mercato claim that AC Milan are interested in signing the midfielder and the Gunners could be willing to sell for the right price. But even if Torreira was to stay, both Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta showed distrust in him filling the defensive midfield role. Both wanted a more progressive passer at the base of their set-up, thus outing Torreira.
With all this in mind, then, could Arsenal look to either replace or improve upon Torreira? And if that is the case, which players might they select in the process? Here are three replacements they could turn to based on a statistical approach.
3. Wilfred Ndidi
If the Gunners are looking for another destroyer in central midfielder, why not chase the most impactful defensive midfielder in the Premier League? No midfielder wins more tackles per 90 minutes than Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi. No midfielder makes more interceptions per 90 minutes. Only seven midfielders make more blocks per 90 minutes.
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Ndidi was a defensive wall in front of the Leicester back four. It is why only two teams have conceded fewer goals than the Foxes this year. His range and athleticism are ideal for the lone holding role, shuttling side to side to break up play and provide protection against the counter-attack. Still at only 23 years of age, he also offers significant upside and long-term value.
Where Ndidi struggles, however, is his play with the ball. He is not asked to play more difficult passes, it should be said, but his 2.52 progressive passes per 90 rank well below Torreira’s 3.75. Ndidi is also restricted when carrying the ball. Per 90 minutes, he carries the ball a progressive distance of 63.2 yards (in yards, the distance towards the opposition goal he carries the ball). Torreira’s is at 96.5 yards per 90 minutes. As such, Arteta might turn elsewhere, but for a pure defensive presence, Arsenal would do well to find a better option than Ndidi.