Thursday, January 26, 2023

Arsenal could land their own Son in Leao

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Arsenal are reportedly interested in signing AC Milan winger Rafael Leao in 2023 and the Portugal star could prove to be Mikel Arteta‘s own version of Tottenham Hotspur talisman Heung-min Son.

The 23-year-old has been linked with a €100m (£88m) move to a number of Premier League clubs including Arsenal and Chelsea and recently spoke about how impressed he was with the Gunners’ style of play this season, which sees them ahead of Manchester City at the top of the division.

It is easy to see why Leao is attracting so much interest ahead of 2023, as he is only contracted at the San Siro until 2024 and has been hugely impressive in recent years for the Rossoneri.

So far this campaign, the pacey wide man has contributed a superb six goals and four assists in just 14 appearances in Serie A, averaging a strong 7.12 rating from WhoScored for his performances in Italy’s top flight.

While the Gunners are blessed with two of the most exciting young wingers in the world in Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka, squad depth is hugely important if Arteta’s side want to hold on to their position at the top of the league, and the prospect of having Leao competing for a starting spot at the Emirates would be a fantastic headache for Arteta to have.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is certainly a big fan of the young winger and sang his praises earlier this year amid links to the Premier League.

He said: “At Milan, he has confidence, space and freedom, which is not a given at another club, it’s up to you. Besides, you can see that he is happy here, by now he is laughing even before scoring. He is the young man who has grown the most.

“Theo has improved so much, De Ketelaere is strong, and patience is needed. But Leao is on another level, above average. He lacks a step, he will only do it when he is fully convinced of his abilities.

“Today even he doesn’t really know how strong he is. Then he will be really scary. And the price will go up.”

According to FBref, the third-most similar player to Leao when compared to other wingers in Europe’s top leagues is Tottenham star, Heung-min Son.

The two players have registered very similar numbers this season with regard to expected assists (both 2.7), goal-creating actions per 90 (0.45 vs 0.48) and recoveries (34 vs 31).

This emphasises that both players are hard workers who can be extremely dangerous in the final third, while WhoScored suggests that both Leao and Son excel at finishing and long shots.

Considering the South Korean’s success in the Premier League in recent years, with the former Bayer Leverkusen man hitting 136 goals and 76 assists in a Spurs shirt, including a Premier League golden boot last season, Arsenal would surely be foolish to turn down a player so similar.

Therefore, Edu should definitely look to bring Leao to the Emirates in 2023, as if he can have anywhere near the impact of Son at the Gunners’ north London rivals, he will surely be a top signing.



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