5 Bundesliga Players Arsenal fans should look out for in the coming weeks (Part 2)
By Alfie Cairns Culshaw (Chief Editor)
With the Bundesliga being given the green light to return from this Saturday, avid football fans will be glued to their sofas in the coming weeks, watching perhaps the most underrated league in Europe play out the final weeks of their season. The German top flight not only possesses the most dynamic, progressive and exciting coaches on the continent at the moment (which make it a delightful spectacle for tactics nerds), but it also possesses some hugely talented players, many of whom have been linked with moves to Arsenal.
So, with high quality football finally set to commence once again within the next two weeks, I thought I’d take a look at five players Arsenal fans should be keeping an eye on when they tune in to watch the Bundesliga, with some more likely to venture to North London in the next window than others. In part one I discussed players whose acquisitions were most likely nothing but a pipe dream, whilst in this feature, we’ll be delving into some more under the radar options, who could very feasible make the switch to the Premier League.
Florian Grillitsch (Hoffenheim)
Certainly a player that has gone somewhat under the radar, but one that is definitely worth keeping an eye out for in the coming weeks. Grillitsch is a defensive midfielder who possesses strong ball winning abilities, as well as being competent in possession and featuring in an aggressive pressing system.
Despite his lanky figure, he makes a very impressive 4.4 pressure regains per 90, and wins an impressive 1.6 fouls per 90. In a team that dominates possession (which Arteta is evidently trying to create), his ball retention skills would likely improve, and he could act as one of the Spaniard’s deep lying distributors, in the mould of Granit Xhaka, but with much greater defensive attributes, offering more security than the Swiss international.
The 24-year-old Austrian supposedly has a €22 million release clause for Premier League clubs, making him an affordable option in an area we appear to be looking to strengthen.
Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen)
Tah is a strange one. Just a couple of years ago, the German centre-back was being tipped as the heir to Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng at the heart of the nation’s defence. Now, the hype seems to have faded quite significantly, and the fact that he hasn’t yet been picked up by a bigger club in Germany or in Europe suggests maybe this initial hype was not justified.
I guess we’ll be able to make our own minds up in the coming weeks, by observing the exciting and progressive Leverkusen under the stewardship of Peter Bosz. The fast paced and inventive side are still fighting for a place in the Champions League for next season, so watching Havertz and co as much as possible is definitely advised by myself.
As for Tah, his physically imposing and brute manner make him an intriguing type of centre-back. Can’t wait for him to underwhelm and make this segment of this article look embarrassing.
Evan N’Dicka (Frankfurt)
Another centre-back, and yet another French one, following the two I mentioned in part one. The Bundesliga appears to have become something of a breeding ground for young French centre-backs to learn their trade in recent years, and N’Dicka is another example of that.
The 20-year-old broke through into the excellent Frankfurt team last season that progressed into the Europa League semi-final, and has attracted widespread praise this campaign for the way he has developed. Having said that, he hasn’t yet nailed a guaranteed starting birth in ‘die Adler’ (understandable given his age), so may be tempted with an offer from North London.
Fellow site writer Vinay Shankar wrote this about N’Dicka a few weeks back:
“Evan N’Dicka is the latest defender to be tracked by Arsenal after having a breakout season with Eintracht Frankfurt and would cost around £20 million. He’s regarded as one of the top youngsters in the Bundesliga and his physique gives him a balance between pace and strength. He’s versatile, being able to play at left-back and at 20, would be one for the future.”
Some people seem to believe we need to strengthen in the right-back area, and whilst I’m personally not amongst this vocal minority, I thought I’d include one in this article for their sake. Hector Bellerin has definitely struggled since returning from his injury, but people don’t seem to recognise the impact such a significant setback can have and just how long this rehabilitation time is.
Shoutout to Statsbomb for this one- I present to you the 25-year-old Brazilian, William from Wolfsburg. Not only does he provide relentless energy and effective ball playing down the right-hand side, he’s also crucially able to defend, something a lot of modern full-backs are incapable of doing. This also means he could seamlessly slot into Arteta’s inverted full-back role.
So if you are one of these anti-Bellerin merchants, put yourself to good use and do some scouting on potential upgrades on the Spaniard by watching Europa League chasing Wolfsburg in the next two weeks.
Milot Rasicha (Werder Bremen)
I know what you’ll immediately say when looking at this one; why would I spend my time watching a side on the verge of relegation to the second tier of German football? And yes, it may not be the most joyful of experiences you can chose from, but if Bremen happen to be playing against one of the big boys, why not do a scouting mission on their shining light in 23-year-old winger Milot Rasicha?
If Aubameyang and/or Lacazette are to leave this summer, it may be a wise strategy to replace their goals with a wide range of players playing in different areas of the pitch, and Rasicha could be a hidden gem for this. He’s certainly enough of a goal threat, and according to the people over at Statsbomb, he just needs to learn when to shoot, with his choice of shots generally quite poor. This sort of development in his game should come with better one on one coaching (something Arteta is supposedly very good at), as well as just more game time in a better offensive side.
Not only is he a goal threat, his dribbling ability could add some much needed penetration to our offensive play. He manages around 2.8 successful dribbles per 90 in the Bundelsiga, bettered only by Nicolas Pepe in our side. Defintely, definitely worth a watch.
That’s all for part two. Whether or not I’ll do a part 3 I don’t know, but there are certainly many more exciting prospects and potential players for us to grab in Germany and bring to the Premier League. Cheers for reading.