Stats show Arsenal’s defensive target is better than we already have

Have Arsenal found a hidden gem?

Arsenal are edging closer to signing Bayer Leverkusen center-back Edmond Tapsoba, according to Italian news outlet Tutto Mercato Web.

The Gunners’ interest in signing a right-sided centerback has been well documented since David Luiz’s departure at the end of the season was confirmed a few weeks back.

Mikel Arteta wants more competition for that side of the pitch, as he tries to make the London side even more robust in defense.

The club already boasts talented young defenders in Dinos Mavrapanos and William Saliba, who shone on loan in Germany and France respectively.

While Arsenal may be open to letting Mavrapanos leave the Emirates Stadium to generate some cash, Saliba will be given his chance in the team’s pre-season.

Some Arsenal fans with great memory might remember Tapsoba, as he made two appearances against the Gunners in the 2019/20 Europa League group stage.

He may not be a household name among fans, but several big clubs have paid attention to his progress in recent years.

Liverpool reportedly made contact with Leverkusen in the January transfer window, only to be told he is not for sale.

The defender who hails from Burkina Faso in Western Africa, has good strength, and has an even better aerial presence. However, his talent does not draw a line there.

The former Vitória Guimarães man is one of the best defenders in Bundesliga when it comes to passing statistics.

The defender has completed 84.74% of his total passes. His Short, Medium, and Long Pass completion numbers stand at an impressive 93.6%, 94.5% and 83.1%.

The Leverkusen defender also makes 2.17 tackles per 90 minutes. When compared to David Luiz, Gabriel and Rob Holding, the three defenders who have been used most often by Arteta, we can get a greater context of his talent.

The trio have attempted a lowly 0.97, 1.26 and 1.37 tackles per 90 respectively. His Interceptions number is also superior than all three at 1.66.

While his ball recovery figures are nowhere close to the current Arsenal defenders. Obviously in a good sense.

The 22-year-old Leverkusen man recovered the ball 13.41 times per 90. While Luiz, Gabriel and Holding recovered the ball 7.41, 7.98 and 8.73 times in the space of one match, respectively.

Tapsoba’s age profile only makes him an even more appealing player. Many have compared his playing style to Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng and Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk.

If the defender is developed in a right environment, Tapsoba has only so much talent and quality to show at the big stage.

Yash Bisht

Tags Edmond Tapsoba


  1. He does make tackling forwards look so easy and appears to be a good passer. Definitely reminds me of VVD. In an ideal world I’d be all for us signing him but it’s the one area of the squad we’re pretty stacked, whereas it’s pretty clear our CM and CF positions are our major weakness right now (backups also needed at fullback)

  2. Signing him would make sense if we can sell. Let the club not allow Saliba to leave . The boy is of great quality.
    We should focus on working on our attack. We need a ball playing central midfielder that will enhance our creativity in a game. A creative player helps the attackers a lot.

  3. Again, like with all these article, these stats mean nothing without context.

    Maybe he has more tackles per game as his team doesn’t have as much possession as Arsenal in an average game. Maybe the DM of the team isn’t good so he’s forced into more challenges. Passing stats are highly dependent on the movement of team mates around you as much as your own ability.

    FYI VVD doesn’t actually tackle that much he jockeys players until support comes or he really has to tackle.

    VVD Stats: 162 EPL matched with 187 tackles so 1.15 tackles per game. This guy has 2.17 tackles per game so he’s twice as good as VVD because stats say so. Come now, people need to learn how stats work. Variables people, variables.

    1. He seems good but it will depend on if Arsenal is willing and capable of iffliading some of the centerbacks (not the English ones, because of the quota) at a good price.
      Bayer L. has reached EL, the player has contract to 2026, so they have no reason to sell cheap.

      1. And yes I agree stats are not sufficient, they just means that defenders in Bayer L. has more work to do than in Arsenal.

    2. Agree completely with you PJ-SA there. Stats mean nothing without context. Usually the best defenders don’t tackle much like Maldini, VVD, and David Luiz

      1. Did you just mention David Luiz with the likes of VVD and Maldini? You know that David Luiz is not that good of a defender and he was a joke in Chelsea and PSG for his poor defending.. I cant believe some of you guys

    3. All good points – *my comparison with VVD (not the articles) is more about the way he seems so nonchalant and unconcerned when someone runs at him and just tackles when he knows he can / has to, as you say. It’s the composure that impressed me

    4. But stats prove that when he is called upon, he can perform. You need a better understanding of stats too.

      1. … especially like in arsenal when a player can dribble thru them and put the ball in the net…the midfield does not win back balls alot as d case has tfor awhile now.

    5. thanks for providing some logical perspective PJ…far too often common sense goes out the window as soon as the analytics enter the fray, which clearly doesn’t tell the whole story…of course, there’s no doubt that Holding can only be a cover defender, if Arteta stays and continues to deploy the same formational tactics that require our defenders to be proficient passers, but I think both Mavro and Saliba exhibit these qualities, so I wish we would focus our transfer energies on “need” purchases first and foremost

  4. Good to go but only if we offload some-eg MAV,MG,AMN etc and also reinforce CM,CF & FBs especially RB.

  5. You really should not get carried away by stats which can be very misleading , and focus on what you actually see with your own eyes.Why would Arsenal want to sign another right sided CB when we already have Holding,Chambers, Saliba and Mavroponas ? It does not make sense to me at a time when our priorities lie in other areas.

    1. Exactly Grandad Rem. Runarsons stats at Dijon. What do you see of him now in reality.?Arsenal should focus mostly on midfield what we need are quick thinking midfielder eg cesc, song matheu etc not defence. Sad many focus too much on AFC defence not mid without a strong quick mid with playing from back system. The defence w’ll be useless especially with slow mids like Xhaka etc

    2. Exactly Grandad Rem. Runarsons stats at Dijon. What do you see of him now in reality.?Arsenal should focus mostly on midfield what we need are quick thinking midfielder eg cesc, song matheu etc not defence. Sad many focus too much on AFC defence not mid without a strong quick mid with playing from back system. The defence w’ll be useless especially with slow mids like Xhaka etc

    3. And funny enough apart from passing, statistically Mavropanos has been better this season than Tapsoba!

      Mavro vs Tapsoba
      2.0 – 1.7 (tackles)
      2.8 – 1.5 (interceptions)
      34.32 – didn’t make the list (top speed)
      3.47 – 3.0 (aerial duels won)

  6. Stats measure QUANTITIES but not QUALITIES. That is well know in the world of statistics. So two defenders with the same stats may well be very different in quality. Like two unbeaten boxers can be paired to fight, they can both have won 30 bouts, but one can be way above the other. Completely relying on statistics alone would produce an average team on most occasions.

    1. I am not approving the signing of Tapsoba by his numbers. Just wrote an article after he was linked.

  7. will it not be an issue if we have too many African players and theyall leave for the AFCON?

    By the way a 9 is more urgent to me than a defender because our defence was the 4th best in this campaign while the attack was the very last among the 9 best teams

  8. I dont think we have issues in defence. we should be focussing more in midfield and attacking for next season.

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