Arsenal remain keen on bolstering their threadbare backline, and one move might allow Edu and Mikel Arteta to once again emulate the success of their Premier League rivals…
What’s the latest on Edmond Tapsoba to Arsenal?
According to Fabrizio Romano, the Gunners remain keen on a move for Bayer Leverkusen’s Edmond Tapsoba, among others of England’s elite.
He wrote on Twitter: “Premier League clubs are now tracking Edmond Tapsoba ahead of the summer transfer window — he’s one of the CBs to keep an eye on.
“Arsenal and Tottenham scouts have monitored Tapsoba in recent games but the race is absolutely open — Bayer will only sell for huge bid.”
Given that the German outfit demanded a fee of around €70m (£61m) back in 2021, it can be expected that this remains in line with the “huge bid” they will demand in the upcoming window. Edu will be keen to do his due diligence before sanctioning such a large outlay.
How good is Edmond Tapsoba?
The 24-year-old has been around the German top flight for many years now, and as such, his experience is far beyond many others of his age. For a central defender, this instantly puts him at a higher level than most.
With 136 games already played for his current club, and the expectation that the 6 foot 4 titan will be a key defensive pillar they can build Xabi Alonso’s new regime upon, it is no surprise to see they are so wary to lose him.
After all, the Burkina Faso international has once again proved himself a dependable defensive asset this campaign, having averaged 1.1 interceptions, 1.6 tackles and three clearances per game, via Sofascore.
However, the peak of his powers undoubtedly came during the 2020/21 term. Whilst these defensive figures remained the same, his pass accuracy rocketed to 90% and he was successful in 65% of his dribbles. Despite his youth, Tapsoba established himself as one of Europe’s top ball-playing defenders on his way to a 7.17 average match rating, via Sofascore.
It was just before that year when journalist Dominic Fifield lauded him as an “outstanding young talent” before the defender went on to prove he was more than just a prospect. He was already a star.
Having launched his career from humble beginnings, he revealed in an interview with The Athletic exactly who he had modelled his game around: “John Stones, at Everton. I really enjoyed watching him, he made a huge impression on me.
“His manner on the ball, and the way he played with the ball. I loved that. I still go back to Stones when it comes to playing in a certain style.”
When harking back to those aforementioned statistics, it is clear to see how the England international has influenced Tapsoba. His remarkable pass accuracy and ability to glide with the ball out of defence is akin to the 28-year-old, who has just helped Manchester City win yet another league title. FBref showcases this, as when compared to others in his role across Europe, the former Vitoria Guimaraes ace ranks in the top 4% for progressive passes and the top 7% for successful take-ons.
For comparison, this season has seen Stones maintain a 93% pass accuracy and an 86% dribble success rate. He is far beyond that of his alternative; however, putting this growing star into Arsenal’s impressive team could fast-track his growth towards that level.
Given Arteta is in desperate need of additional centre-backs to compete with William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes, they could do much worse than a defender who has aspirations of emulating the five-time league winner.