Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Alexander Isak’s strengths and weaknesses as Arsenal’s eyes shift
Arsenal are ready for a busy summer transfer window after suffering one of their worst seasons in the Premier League era.
Mikel Arteta’s side finished eighth in the league and failed to win a trophy after losing to Unai Emery’s Villarreal in the Europa League semi-finals, a loss that doomed the club from north London to a spell without European football for the first time in 25 years.
however, football.london understands that general manager Edu Gaspar is planning a redesign of his squad in the coming months, with the Brazilian keen to sign at least five rookies this summer – including two midfielders, two full-backs and a center-back.
Arsenal could also be ready for a reshuffle in the forward department given that Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette only have 12 months left on their current UAE deals, meaning the Gunners can choose to capitalize on two forwards and bring a long-. term replacement who may eventually succeed Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from the start.
The 14 FA Cup winners have been linked with Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin in recent days, with the Telegraph reporting that Arteta is a big fan of the England international and could make a move worth over £ 50million to secure its services this summer.
So what kind of player would the Gunners get if they made a step for Calvert-Lewin?
The strengths of Calvert-Lewin
The 24-year-old has a knack for being in the right place at the right time, often making smart blind runs to find himself in high-chance scoring chances and moving away from his marker only to find himself free at the back post for a header or a reduction.
This is illustrated by the fact that he recorded a whopping 15.4 npxG (expected goals without penalty) in the Premier League last season, a number that can only be improved by Mohamed Salah, Harry Kane and Patrick Bamford – who have all played over minutes. than Calvert-Lewin.
When he finds himself on goal, he often makes it count – outperforming his xG to score 16 league goals last season, an extremely impressive number for a player who isn’t owed a penalty for his side.
What’s more, Calvert-Lewin would also bring a new dimension to the Emirates as he poses an incredible threat from crosses and set pieces, averaging 4.57 aerial duels per game last season. In contrast, Lacazette only managed 1.42 for 90 and Aubameyang registered only 1.38.
The former Sheffield United striker struggles with the heist game when the ball is played to him on the counter, often giving it when played down to his feet due to his poor passing ability , as well as its first inconstant. to touch.
This can be a problem for Arteta, who prefers his attackers to be able to bring other players into the game, which Calvert-Lewin can sometimes find difficult to do.
He recorded just 1.43 shot creation actions last season, a stat that illustrates a player’s ability to foul or hand the ball over for teammates via a pass or dribble. Lacazette managed 2.33 in that department while Aubameyang, who is also often criticized for his ability on the ball, only scored 1.59.
Another striker Arsenal have been mentioned for is Real Sociedad forward Alexander Isak, with The Athletic claiming Arteta is keen to sign the Sweden international this summer.
Again, the Gunners are expected to break the bank if they make a move for Isak in the coming weeks given that he has a € 70million (£ 59.8million) release clause in his contract, but how does it compare to Calvert-Lewin?
Stylistically, Isak is relatively similar to Calvert-Lewin given that they are both tall and fast attackers who are accomplished finishers and extremely lethal when given the opportunity.
However, one advantage Isak does have is age, considering he’s only 21, three years younger than the leader of Everton.
Like Calvert-Lewin, the Sweden international is billed as an incredibly smart forward due to his smart movement both in and out of the penalty area. Still, he’s more proficient when it comes to running the ball, often using his savvy close control to lead opposition defenders and get a shot.
This means that he rarely relies on others to create opportunities for him, instead he frequently creates his own opportunities, an attribute that Arsenal has lacked in recent campaigns. This is illustrated by his impressive 0.51 npxG for 90, the third-tallest La Liga player to play more than 600 minutes last season.
The summer window is officially open, and it is going to be difficult to follow the comings and goings in and out of the Emirates.
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As for the holes in Isak’s play, again he features similar profiles to Calvert-Lewin, often struggling with his passes and bringing his teammates into the game.
The former Dortmund man recorded just 1.8 shots-creating actions for 90 last season, while averaging just over 70% of passes completed, a worrying number given Arteta has previously admitted that he preferred his attackers to be an accomplished passer of the ball.
Plus, despite his size, Isak doesn’t quite have the air ability you’d expect from a 6-foot-3 forward, averaging just 1.66 successful aerial duels per game.