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.