The rumour mill has today seen fit to reopen the file on Sevilla star Grezgorz Krychowiak signing for Arsenal this summer, with The Times reporting the Gunners’ interest in matching his £21m buyout clause.
Investing in a first-rate holding-midfielder is, for many, paramount for the north London outfit if they are to mount an effective challenge for the Premier League title next season.
With averages of 3.2 tackles and 3.5 interceptions per outing during Los Rojiblancos’ victorious Europa League campaign and a pass completion rate north of 80%, it would appear the Polish enforcer is just that.
But despite his impressive figures and relatively good value, Arsenal have no need to be forking out to augment their defensive-midfield department.
The obvious support for this argument is the emergence of Francis Coquelin, who after years on the fringes of the Gunners first-team, finally broke in last winter.
His stats recorded across 22 Premier League appearances are strong enough to rival those of Krychowiak, with 3.2 tackles and 3.7 interceptions recorded in an average outing.
With an 85.9% pass accuracy rate, though, it’s fair to assume the Frenchman is a better fit for Arsenal’s possession-retention style of play than the imposing Pole.
Similarly, Coquelin has found a way to prosper in a midfield where not much protection is afforded from elsewhere.
The likes of Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla are not likely to offer much in a defensive capacity, which has often resulted in Arsenal holding-midfielders being over-exposed in recent seasons, as Mikel Arteta will attest.
While Krychowiak is better suited to the role than the makeshift Spaniard, he has always been partnered with like-minded individuals during his stint in the Sevilla midfield.
Further reason to keep the hammer away from the piggy bank is the development of Krystian Bielik.
To much furore, Arsenal paid £2.7m to sign Krychowiak’s countryman last January, with a view to him breaking into the first-team a few seasons down the line.
The forthcoming campaign will likely be too soon for the 17-year-old, but 2016/17 could see him ushered into contention.
With potentially the Sevilla midfielder and Coquelin to oust, his progress will undoubtedly be hindered, which appears counterproductive given they made a sizeable investment in Bielik.
As it stands, it’s 11/5 Arsenal sign Krychowiak, though the 3/10 about them not doing so is a bet that would be more beneficial to them.