Edmond Tapsoba linked with Arsenal
Bayer Leverkusen’s continued success on the back of faith placed in a core of youngsters may yet find them in negotiations this summer, with Burkina Faso international Edmond Tapsoba linked with interest from Premier League giants Arsenal.
— Gianluigi Longari (@Glongari) May 25, 2021
Still just 22-years of age, Tapsoba has already solidified himself as a mainstay at the heart of the defense at the BayArena, and has been a key figure in the starting XI for Die WerkselfÂ since completing his move from Portuguese outfit VitÃ³ria de GuimarÃ£es in January 2020. To date, he has already featured on sixty-one occasions for Leverkusen across all competitions, including thirty-one league appearances (29 starts) in the 2020-21 Bundesliga campaign, with an additional eight combined appearances in the Europa League and DFB Pokal competitions.
The noise around Tapsoba is considerable given his tender age yet impressive contributions and much of the data around his performances in 2020-21 mirror the growing hype around the player. Given some of the standout numbers behind his performances this past season, which includes impressive passing (89.8% pass accuracy), carrying (third-highest ball carry distance per 90; 258.8 metres), and recoveries (265; highest in the Bundesliga), links with Arsenal interest would make sense given the manner in which Mikel Arteta has begun to mold the Gunners on a tactical level.
It is clear that Arsenal will be meant to play out of the back as a key part of how they intend to operate, and with the club widely expected to go through another phase of their rebuild this summer with sanctioned spending in a bid to transform the side into a much closer version of Arteta’s image, it is the sort of link that fans can – and should – be excited about.
What does this mean for Arsenal’s current center-back options?
With the departure of David Luiz from the Emirates this summer due to his contract expiring, Arsenal’s options at the heart of the defense – while decent – do little to instill the type of confidence that many in the fanbase would be hoping for amidst rising expectations of pushing for a top-four place in 2021-22 Premier League season.
At the moment, Mikel Arteta can rely on Gabriel MagalhÃ£es, Rob Holding, Pablo MarÃ, Calum Chambers, and the returning of on-loan pair William Saliba and Konstantinos Mavropanos. There is still a degree of uncertainty whether or not Saliba will finally get the chance at Arsenal he was hoping for, though he is expected to be with the team come pre-season. As for Mavropanos, the Greek international has put in a very good loan spell at VfB Stuttgart, with sporting director, Sven Mislintat, signing his praises. It is assumed that, should a pathway to regular minutes at Arsenal – who will be without European football next season – be a realistic option, that Mavropanos could look for a permanent move away from the club with Stuttgart undoubtedly being keen on retaining his services on a full-time basis.
But for as much of David Luiz’s time has been marred with a divided fan-base regarding his importance to the team, there was never a question about how effective he was under Arteta, a manager who prefers his center-backs to be comfortable and confident on the ball while being efficient in their passing numbers. In that light, Tapsoba fits the bill.
There are sure to be an immeasurable amount of links during the summer when it comes to Arsenal, but this is the type of target the Gunners should absolutely push with if they are to find value in the market.
This article was edited by Benjamin Newman.
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