Arsenal Rekindle Their Interest In World Cup Winning Frenchman: Can He Solve Arteta’s Problems?

Real Betis' French midfielder Nabil Fekir gestures during the Spanish league football match Real Betis against Sevilla FC at the Benito Villamarin stadium in Seville on November 10, on 2019. (Photo by CRISTINA QUICLER / AFP) (Photo by CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP via Getty Images)

According to Mirror, Arsenal have once again set their sights on Nabil Fekir. The Gunners are prepared to lose Dani Ceballos in the summer, and the Real Betis playmaker has been identified as the desired replacement. However, it is unclear as to how much Fekir could exactly cost, having joined Betis last summer,

How has Fekir performed at Betis?

Fekir has had an impressive season after making a €20 million move to Real Betis last summer. In 22 La Liga matches, he has scored seven goals while registering six assists. His contributions in the final third have helped Betis somehow stay afloat in mid-table, in what has, otherwise, been a mediocre campaign.

But more importantly, Fekir’s role has slightly changed at Betis. He has operated in a deeper role than usual, which is why the Frenchman has averaged an impressive 2.5 tackles per game with a success rate of 60%.

In terms of creativity, the 26-year-old does not lead the way, trailing both Sergio Canales and Joaquin as far as chances created are concerned. However, what has made him such a vital component of the Betis squad is his willingness to test the goalkeeper.

Fekir has amassed a whopping 73 shots on goal this season, which is significantly more than any other player in the squad. In fact, striker Loren Moron is second with just 41 attempts.

SEVILLE, SPAIN – FEBRUARY 09: Nabil Fekir of Real Betis Balompie celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the Liga match between Real Betis Balompie and FC Barcelona at Estadio Benito Villamarin on February 09, 2020, in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

Can Fekir replace Ceballos?

The departure of Ceballos is set to create a void in the Arsenal midfield. Unlike Lucas Torreira or Granit Xhaka, the Spaniard was capable of easing the transition, thanks to his impressive ball-carrying qualities. However, this is something Fekir can provide as he is also equipped with excellent close control and balance, allowing him to nestle through tight spaces.

The Frenchman can be deployed alongside Xhaka in Mikel Arteta’s 4-2-3-1 setup. Xhaka’s more robust approach would combine well with Fekir’s technical prowess which is coupled with his flair and dynamism going forward.

Speaking of which, the Real Betis playmaker can also be utilised as a backup or perhaps a replacement for Mesut Ozil. The German has struggled to bring back his old form despite improving under Arteta. And at the age of 31, Arsenal should look for a replacement sooner rather than later.

Fekir, in that regard, fits the bill. He can easily slot into the number ten role and provide the creative essence in the final third. However, it remains to be seen whether or not the ex-Olympique Lyon star can succeed in the fast-paced nature of the Premier League.

Stat courtesy: Whoscored

Jack O’Brien

A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.