In a recent print edition, Sport stated that Arsenal have joined the race to sign Barcelona midfielder Miralem Pjanic this summer. However, it has been revealed that the Gunners will face competition in the form of Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea in pursuit of the Bosnia-Herzegovina international in this off-season (transcripted and translated by Sport Witness).
Pjanic’s Mounting Frustrations At Catalonia Last Season
Pjanic was at the receiving end of a frustrating campaign at the Nou Camp as he struggled to prove his worth at the heart of Ronald Koeman’s midfield. The 31-year-old was involved in 30 matches for the Catalan giants last season, picking up three yellow cards and failing to score or assist a goal across all competitions.
The experienced midfielder struggled to find consistency as most of his game time came off the bench which explains why he only averaged 0.8 shots, 0.6 key passes and 0.4 dribbles per 90 minutes in La Liga football. However, he was exceptionally tidy with his ball distribution after making 91.4% of his attempted passes in the Spanish first division (stats via whoscored).
Pjanic is still under contract at Barcelona until the summer of 2024 but needs to prioritise on making a switch away from the Nou Camp before the start of the new season so that he can play a more prominent role at the highest level.
What Will The Bosnia-Herzegovina International Add To Mikel Arteta’s Side?
Pjanic has a wide range of passes in his locker and can open up the opposition defence with a decisive through ball when he is playing with confidence on the pitch. He hardly gives away possession and can builds plays from midfield quite well. However, the veteran midfielder has failed to be productive with his contributions in the final third which could be one of the main reasons why he is currently surplus to requirements at the Nou Camp. He is primarily a box to box midfielder but can also play a defensive midfielder or as an attacking midfielder if required.
At 31, Pjanic is a player on the decline but has got a wealth of experience at the highest level. He will add some much-needed depth to Mikel Arteta’s squad but needs a regular run of games to rediscover his old form from his Juventus days.
Pjanic might enjoy playing in Arteta’s brand of possession-based football at the Emirates Stadium and will undoubtedly increase competition for places within Arsenal’s match-day squad. We can expect him to inject some quality to Arteta’s midfield department that was far from consistent with their performances last season.