Arsenal are one of three top clubs who are reportedly interested in signing Leicester City’s Belgian midfield ace Youri Tielemans.
That is according to Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano who has boosted Gunners fans’ hopes of securing the 25-year-olds signature, having stated on Twitter that “Arsenal are discussing Tielemans internally since January.”
The Athletic’s David Ornstein recently confirmed this news in his weekly column. On Twitter, alongside a link to his latest report, he said: “AFC decision-makers all keen to sign Youri Tielemans + agent dialogue encouraging so far.”
Arteta will be incredibly keen to secure the Belgian’s services this summer to address their depth issue in midfield, but more importantly, considerably boost the quality the Gunners boss currently possesses. Anyone who’s watched and dissected the former AS Monaco’s game could find that his talents and abilities bear a resemblance to club icon Cesc Fabregas.
With the strength of his link-up play, vision and extraordinary passing habits, defensive astuteness and ability to contribute with attacking returns, the £49.5m-rated may well provide a modern-day influence to Arsenal similar to what the Spaniard expressed during his time at both Arsenal and Chelsea.
The Belgian, previously dubbed “scary” by Sam Dean and a “genius” by Roger Bennett, is perfectly capable of fitting into the one-touch possession and progressive focus that Arteta looks to employ at the Emirates Stadium. Crucially, the midfield maestro fits the bill perfectly.
While Tielemans hasn’t necessarily enjoyed his best year for Leicester, he has still continued to be a key man for the King Power outfit, scoring six goals and laying on three assists in 27 Premier League starts and averaging 1.2 key passes per game.
In his second season in the Premier League, Fabregas registered five goals and seven assists from 33 starts, all while registering 13 big chances created, 1.9 key passes with a success rate of 84% from all his passes per game, demonstrating the ability to dictate the tempo, create chances and progress the ball from deep.
In comparison to Arsenal’s current options, he excels more in his ball progression. For example, Thomas Partey’s match average of 12.8 touches in the attacking third, in comparison to Tielemans’ average of 19.86, is demonstrative of what kind of style the £120k-per-week star will provide Arteta.
His numbers this season haven’t hit the same heights as that of the Spaniard but in the context of what he provides Brendan Rodgers for a side much weaker than that Chelsea side during the 2015/16 campaign, the 49-time Belgium international is incredibly influential like Fabregas.
As per FBref, out of all players in the Foxes squad, he’s performed the joint-most key passes (37), the most final third passes (151), the second-most passes into the opposition penalty area (28) and the most progressive passes (157) which are considerably more than any of Arsenal’s current centre-midfield options.
Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka and Albert Sambi Lokonga remain Arteta’s only first-team options in the middle of the park, and the Spaniard will no doubt be looking to bolster his options this summer with proven quality, and acquiring the Belgian playmaker’s services is indeed a no-brainer for the Gunners.
In the context of styles, Arteta will have surely taken influence from Pep Guardiola’s ideology at Manchester City.
Arteta can look to implement this practice throughout the Emirates engine room with a player like Tielemans, who can come in as an experienced and dynamic alternative who could add more creativity and energy in the middle of the park the Gunners have sorely been missing.