Arsenal could be in desperate need for a midfielder this summer, as Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey could be on their way out of the Emirates Stadium.
New manager Unai Emery isn’t blessed with a lot of money to strengthen the side, but a former player of his could provide a cheap solution to their midfield woes – Grzegorz Krychowiak.
The Polish international endured a forgettable loan spell at West Bromwich Albion last season and may not have a future at parent club Paris Saint-Germain. He has all the attributed Arsenal lack and may not break the bank.
Arsenal currently have four first-team central midfielders going into the new season – Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny and Jack Wilshere. Only Elneny would be regarded as a defensive midfielder who is happier to break up play and retain possession, rather than create chances in the final third like Ramsey, Xhaka and Wilshere.
As a result, Arsenal could greatly benefit from a player like Krychowiak in the side as his combative qualities would help the Gunners to nullify the opposite and control play in the middle of the park. Emery likes a 4-3-3 formation, so Krychowiak might be the perfect holding midfielder to screen the defence and allow more freedom to the creative players ahead of him.
Arsenal could yet be losing Wilshere and Ramsey as the pair are yet to agree a contract extension, so Emery might have to bring in one or two replacements. Wilshere could leave in the coming weeks unless the Gunners can tie him down to an eleventh-hour deal. Ramsey has another year left on his contract.
Given how little influence he made in the Arsenal side last season, would replacing Wilshere with Krychowiak be that bad a move?
We reported on Saturday that Emery had just £50m to spend on players this summer, which has forced him to be thrifty when identifying new recruits – Juventus’ Stephan Lichtsteiner (free transfer), West Bromwich Albion’s Jonny Evans (£3m) – and Krychowiak could be another bargain purchase.
The 28-year-old joined Paris Saint-Germain from Sevilla in 2016 but struggled to make an impact – 11 Ligue 1 appearances – and was loaned out to Albion a year later. If he’s still out of favour at PSG, Arsenal could bring him to the Emirates on loan, as he still has three more years on his deal.
Krychowiak hasn’t been at his best for two years now, but at Sevilla he was one of the best midfielders in the division. His final season at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium saw him average a tackle or interception every 13 minutes, while being dribbled past just 13 times in 26 league games.
He also won 71% of his aerial duels and boasted a 70% dribble success rate in 2015/16. Krychowiak’s frame makes him a hard player to take the ball off, something Arsenal have lacked due to an overreliance on diminutive technical players, so should Emery bring the talented Pole to London this summer?