Arsenal and Chelsea transfer target: Jefferson Farfan


Arsenal and Chelsea have been linked with Schalke 04 winger Jefferson Farfan - but is he the right man for either team?


It is talkSPORT who have run with a report that says both Arsene Wenger and Andre Villas-Boas are eyeing up a deal for the Peruvian when his contract runs out this summer.


Despite his obvious talents, it is debatable as to whether Farfan can thrive at Emirates Stadium or Stamford Bridge, should he move there.


So that is exactly what GMF are going to do. The former PSV Eindhoven player’s pros and cons will be weighed up to reach a verdict that predicts whether he will be a success in the Premier League.


The Blues and Gunners play with a similar formation and system, although this is hardly significant as almost every top team in Europe deploys this way of playing.


The system allows for two pseudo-wingers to support a lone central striker, but also fall back to make a midfield five when losing possession.


Farfan would almost certainly occupy one of these wide berths and the above line describing the defensive side of the job is already a stumbling block for him.


The 27-year-old does not enjoy the defensive side of the game and has been known to lose concentration when tracking back, or simply just not tracking back at all.


This won’t work in either the Chelsea or Arsenal side because the wide players there are asked to do probably the hardest job in the team, which is to get back and protect their full-back when needed and be the first players to support the striker.


Chelsea’s midfield three is a little more rigid than Arsenal’s, with Michael Essien ready to drop back into a wide protection role to assist the defensive duties of John Obi Mikel or Oriel Romeu.


In Wenger’s side it is much less rigid and Mikel Arteta has a decent licence to get forward, while Aaron Ramsey’s primary role is to get in support of Robin van Persie and keep the ball moving into and around the opposition penalty area.


Alex Song is the Gunners’ only real holding midfielder and even he has a certain amount of freedom to get forward in support of attacks. This means that Arsenal’s full-backs can be exposed at times, which is why they were caught out so often when midfielders and centre-backs were filling in for the injured.


Farfan would have to take on much more responsibility than he is accustomed to, but a role such as this has never been bestowed upon him before and could surprise many with his tactical discipline.


While at PSV he was used as the main central striker or a second striker flitting around traditional ‘Big Man’ Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink when the two were playing together.


The speedy winger was able to do both roles very well but the level of quality in the Eredivisie means nay achievements would have to be taken with a pinch of salt due to the sheer number of players who had excelled there and failed to reproduce in other leagues.


The first to be confirmed is his inability to play through the middle alone due to him not being very adept at holding the ball up, despite being reasonably stocky and well built.


One attribute that is necessary for a successful Premier League player is speed, both of thought and of foot. Farfan possesses both in abundance and is always an attacking threat when on the pitch.


While not a jinking winger, he does have the knack of beating his marker and runs effectively at defenders, whole also being able to pick out a cute pass every now and then.


However, this is far too regular for a player who creates threatening situations so readily and often. It is an extremely frustrating experience watching him rush passes and crosses, wasting good opportunities to assist team-mates – the same problem exists in his finishing.


After stepping up a level to the Bundesliga, Farfan’s goal rate has slowed down significantly after having to face better defenders and being unable to create so many chances as before.


He has also retained some of the impatience he had as a youngster in Holland and can often seem petulant – he is also known to put in too many anonymous performances and can get bullied out of games too easily at times.


The one thing that Farfan will always have is the footballing ‘X’ factor, in that he can produce a moment of sublime skill in an instant to unlock a defence or fool an unwitting goalkeeper.




While Farfan has the potential to be an incredibly exciting player, he is probably not robust enough to thrive in the Premier League and his tactical indiscipline means Wenger and Villas-Boas could easily lose patience with him.


On the positive side, he possesses great pace and skill when going forward and defenders would not relish having to go up against him. He only has to slightly improve his finishing, final ball and tactical discipline to become a very god player.

At this moment in time, he would probably be better served with a move to La Liga or Serie A if he wants his career to progress.

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