Statistical analysis of Arsenal targets Riyad Mahrez and Julian Draxler

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Right midfield has long been a problem position for Arsenal.

Ever since the days of Freddie Ljungberg, who won two Premier League titles in north London and became an 'Invincible', the Gunners have failed to sign an all-action replacement.

Theo Walcott arrived in 2006 to fill that void but has largely failed to do so, while the likes of Gervinho and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have also flattered to deceive.


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Only until now has Arsene Wenger come to the realisation that greater quality is needed and it would seem he's willing to spend big to achieve just that, with Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez and outbound Wolfsburg star Julian Draxler both linked with moves.

But who would be a better fit at the Emirates Stadium? Who would represent better value for money? Here, we crunch the numbers to make an informed decision.


It's advantage Mahrez in the goalscoring and assists department after he recorded a phenomenal 17 goals and 11 assists in the Premier League last season.

In doing so, the Algerian played a huge role in steering Leicester to title glory whilst forming a deadly attacking partnership with 24-goal Jamie Vardy.

Quick with his feet and devastating in front of goal, Mahrez combined pace, flair and finesse to terrorise defences throughout the entirety of the campaign.

Draxler, on the other hand, managed a meagre five goals and assists in the 2015/16 Bundesliga term, albeit from fewer appearances.

England's top flight is like no other in Europe and whereas Draxler would potentially struggle to adapt to its rigours, Mahrez has already proved his mettle and would adjust seamlessly to life in north London.


In today's market, Mahrez and Draxler would cost Arsenal roughly the same price.

The former is reportedly available for around £45 million - he cost Leicester £400,000 in 2014 - whilst Draxler, who told Wolfsburg that he wants to leave recently, would command a fee in the region of £35-40 million having signed for £25 million only last year.

Mahrez would arguably prove better value for money, though, considering his experience in the Premier League - let alone the fact he won the title in May.

Draxler, meanwhile, represents a gamble, so to pay £40 million for a player who is young and unbeknown to the physicality of English football might put off Wenger, even if time is on his side.


Now for the ultimate statistical breakdown.

Mahrez and Draxler are both renowned for their attacking attributes, such as dribbling, shooting, passing and conversion rates.

Where successful take-ons are concerned, Leicester's Algerian star is the clear winner with 131 last season, compared to Draxler's 57.

The Germany international boasts a greater percentage of successful take-ons (71%) but that's perhaps to be expected considering how often Mahrez (56%) attempts to dribble past opponents.

Key passes is a close call but Mahrez is once again the winner with 56 to Draxler's 31, but it's worth taking into account that he played 16 more league games than his German counterpart. 

And it's the same story where successful passes are concerned: Mahrez - 746 (74% accuracy); Draxler - 557 (83%).

Had injuries not hindered Draxler's season, he would probably have recorded the same - if not more - amount of key and successful passes as Mahrez.

Statistics ultimately count for little, though - it's the end product that really matters - and because of that, Mahrez is the superior choice for Arsenal.

Under Wenger's tutelage and alongside the world-class likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, the 25-year-old's passing accuracy, creativity and overall quality of play would only improve.

He could also be the key to Arsenal's Premier League title bid.

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Thierry Henry
Leicester City
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UEFA Champions League
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