Arsenal have made considerable waves in the market this summer, bringing in a host of quality players despite their slender budget. However, many fans argue that the Gunners haven’t focused much on strengthening their defensive department, with David Luiz being the only imminent arrival in the central defensive role.
@SwissRamble on Twitter posted an extensive thread as to how Arsenal were able to manage such high profile transfers. And while they may still be able to invest in the upcoming January transfer window, they must sign a centre-back, especially if Shkodran Mustafi leaves the club this summer.
At the same time, the Gunners can’t afford to sanction any big-money transfer, which means they will have to pursue a cheaper alternative. One player they should really keep an eye on is Waldemar Anton of Hannover 96. And in this article, we will discuss why he could be a success at the Emirates.
A well-rounded defender
One of the key features Anton can bring to the table is his work-ethic. The 23-year-old is an incredible athlete who can not only work hard for his team but also remains quite committed and focuses during defensive phases.
The Hannover star notably attempted 2.3 tackles per game last season with a success rate of 60%. He also averaged two interceptions per game, which is indicative of his ability to read the game that could be useful in the Premier League. Besides, Anton has a tall 189cm frame that gives him a considerable advantage in the air. He won 2.5 headed duels per game last season.
But most importantly, Anton can pass the ball well. Attaining a pass completion rate of 83% is quite impressive, especially for a player who plays at Hannover. And it is his ability to circulate possession that makes the 23-year-old such a well-rounded defender.
Stat courtesy: Whoscored
A versatile operator
Aside from his work-ethic, Anton is known for his versatility on the pitch. A centre-back by trade, the 23-year-old can cover the defensive midfield role. He played in that number six role numerous times during the 2017/18 as well as the 2016/17 campaign. He has even played in central midfield, at times.
Anton can be deployed in the right-back as well as the left-back slot. This versatility in the defensive half can be beneficial for Arsenal, who lack depth in all areas of defence. It is especially applicable for such a long and strenuous schedule of English football. Let us also not forget the fact that the Gunners will also take part in the UEFA Europa League this season.
A leader amongst men and a cheaper option
Among all other things, Anton is blessed with leadership qualities. His ability to motivate the backline, despite his age, is something Arsenal are genuinely lacking, following the departure of Koscielny this summer.
But most importantly, Anton is the cheapest defensive target the North London giants can possibly pursue. The 23-year-old is currently valued at €12 million by Transfermarkt. But, following Hannover’s relegation to the 2. Liga last season, he is unlikely to cost more than €15-16 million.
This could be a massive boost for Arsenal, who, as mentioned earlier, could face budget restraints after a busy summer transfer window.