Friday, September 29, 2023

Arsenal Plotting A Late Swoop For This Bundesliga Defensive Talent: How Does He Fit In?

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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.

According to German outlet Kicker, Arsenal are plotting a swoop for Omar Rekik. The Hertha Berlin defender is the younger brother of Karim, who used to play for Manchester City and looks set for a move to Sevilla this summer. As a result, Omar is now also keen on a move away from Berlin, putting Arsenal on red alert and there is a possibility that the 18-year-old might join the club’s U-23 side this summer.

Who Is Omar Rekik?

Rekik joined the Hertha academy back in 2017, at the same time when his elder brother joined the first-team. Since then, the centre-back has enjoyed a swift rise in the youth divisions, notably getting promoted to the reserve side this summer.

Although Rekik does technically play for the Hertha reserve side, the 18-year-old was involved on the bench in the club’s last three Bundesliga matches during the 2019/20 campaign.

A centre-back by trade, Omar’s style of play can be compared to his brother, with the two even sharing the same height (1.86m). So essentially, they’re quite strong in the air, with the youngster potentially having a chance of growing even more given his age.

Rekik’s imposing presence not only gives him an advantage in aerial battles but also makes him a threat from set-pieces. He has notched up as many as five goals in just 43 matches in the U-19 Bundesliga.

The 18-year-old, who generally prefers to play on the right side of the defence, still needs to improve on his passing and marking. But, given his age, he certainly has time on his side and has the potential to groom into a top-class centre-back.

Arsenal are plotting a swoop for Omar Rekik - He is a strong tackler.
Dresdens Julius Kade links gegen Omar Rekik rechts Testspiel SG Dynamo Dresden – Hertha BSC U23 Fußball 3. Liga Saison 2019/2020 Sommervorbereitung Rudolf-Harbig-Stadion Dresden 09. August 2020 *** Dresdens Julius Kade left against Omar Rekik right Test match SG Dynamo Dresden Hertha BSC U23 Football 3 Liga Season 2019 2020 Summer preparation Rudolf Harbig Stadion Dresden 09 August 2020

How Does Rekik Fit In At Arsenal?

Arsenal’s interest in Rekik seems rather bizarre, given the amount of depth they have in the central defensive unit. It has even led to the club trying to offload William Saliba, who had just returned from his loan spell at St. Etienne this summer.

Fortunately for Rekik, he will be a part of the Arsenal U-23 side, where he can compete with another new signing Jonathan Dinzeyi, who came from arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur earlier this summer. Both these players have a lot of talent and could prosper in the Arsenal academy that has produced some quality first-team stars for the Gunners in recent years, including Bukayo Saka.

That said, Omar Rekik’s route to the Arsenal first-team could be a bit trickier. Mikel Arteta currently has ten players who can operate at centre-back including Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac.

Although most of them are indeed injured, it could take a lot of time for the Gunners to offload fringe players like Sokratis, Shkodran Mustafi and Calum Chambers, so that they can free up space in the first-team.

What’s The Best Option For Arteta Here?

Despite the club’s growing depth in central defence, Mikel Arteta should not miss out on a talented star like Rekik. It would perhaps be a wiser solution for the Spaniard to sign the Hertha Berlin defender and immediately send him out on a loan deal.

The 18-year-old, much like Saliba, needs regular game-time at this stage of his career – something Arsenal cannot offer right now. Shipping the defender out to Eredivisie, Ligue 1 or even the Championship, on a season-long loan deal, therefore, appears to be a smart option, as far as the Gunners are concerned.

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