İlkay Gündoğan: A Want, Not a Need

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By ‘ABW Guest Blogger’ Rory L. (@RoryLanganAFC)

İlkay Gündoğan ticks all the boxes of a modern Arsenal player – young, skillfull, nice to watch – but he also represents two of the more negative traits of our current squad, he is physically weak and injury prone. We’re not a physical team, there is no doubting that, but in this window we need a strong leader, crisp in the tackle, fearless in the air and someone who is not afraid to get stuck in to a team and grab a game by the scruff of the neck.

Do we have a player like that in our current squad? I would argue no, we don’t. We lack leaders, organisers and players who can stop a team from ripping open our defence. It is, and has been for some time, obvious that this is the kind of player we need to spend our money on during the transfer window. We have more than enough Gündoğan-esque players for now.

Sure, I would love to see Gündoğan in an Arsenal shirt someday; he is an impressive player with many attractive qualities. Two goals in 8 caps for the world champions Germany, 7 in 65 for Dortmund. We have seen he is a threat when we’ve played against the boys from the Westfalenstadion and there is no doubting his class, but of the reports I’ve seen of a bid from £15mil to £25mil, I believe that money could be more efficiently and effectively used on the defensive minded player we so desperately need.

I’m not anti-Wenger, but it seems typical of him to ignore the position we so desperately need to fill by throwing a few bids at average targets and then when the bids fall through because of an argument over five quid, he will claim how “we tried” and then go sign a north Korean left winger because it was a “good deal”. I’m no expert, and I understand to really believe this is how he goes about his business is ludicrous, but a 6 month loan of a player such as Källström is just not good enough for a club of Arsenal’s stature.

Now I understand Gündoğan typically sits in front of the defence picking out passes and forward runs, and some might class him as a defensive mid, but he is not the defensive cover we need, he is more a replacement for Arteta. He is weak in the air and weak in the tackle, and not that many players could, but Gündoğan won’t be stopping Yaya Touré running through the heart of our defence. To see Gündoğan and Özil threading balls through to Alexis and Walcott is a mouth-watering prospect, but so are clean sheets.

A similar player to Gündoğan but who fits our needs and could address our defensive issues would be Morgan Schneiderlin, the obvious alternative. He fits in to our style of play well; tidy passing, comfortable on the ball; but he can also provide the defensive cover we need, the tackling, the interceptions, the aerial duels rather than just sitting in front of the back four. Having captained the Saints on several occasions during his 216 appearances for the side since 2008, he fits the criteria of a leader too. With 3 goals in 16 apps this season and 1 goal in the Saints FA cup game against Ipswich, he can also provide some offensive support when necessary. Available for in or around the same price, I believe our money would be better spent on the Southampton player at this point in time.

At some point in the near future I would love to see Gündoğan at Arsenal, I’m sure most of us Gooners would, but at the moment he would be a luxury buy and is simply not a necessity. I’m happy to see our ambitions have grown from André Santos and Park Chu-young to German internationals, but our ambitions need to be focused on the positions we need to fill if we are to have a successful 2015. At the very least there are some promising signs of action during this transfer window I just hope all efforts are filtered into the right areas and the right players.

By ‘ABW Guest Blogger’ Rory L. (@RoryLanganAFC)

Rory submitted this blog for consideration prior to the Gabriel announcement and despite that signing being defensively minded, we felt that this blog still makes excellent points about the fabled defensive midfielder role.  Go give Rory a follow.  OG

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