Tammy Abraham would be a Fantastic Signing for Arsenal - Here’s Why
By Rob Worthington (Deputy Editor)
Arsenal fans, a question for you…
If the club were to sign Dominic Calvert-Lewin this Summer, would you be happy with that addition to the squad?
I think the overwhelming majority of you would answer that question with an emphatic “yes.”
However, Calvert-Lewin has not been linked with a move to north London this Summer despite his brilliant breakthrough season with Everton in 20/21. Instead, Arsenal are said to have their sights set on Tammy Abraham of Chelsea.
Fear not, if Arsenal were to sign Abraham, they’d be getting a very similar player to Calvert-Lewin. FBref.com’s data analysis ‘Similar Players’ tool recognises Abraham as the most comparable player to Calvert-Lewin in Europe’s Top Five Leagues right now.
So, which of the two extremely similar players do you pick? The one available on a season-long loan in a deal which would involve an option/obligation to buy? Or, the player who isn’t up for sale, and thus a player whose price tag is likely astronomical?
The answer is simple. In a window in which Arsenal must spend their resources wisely, the club has to move for the more financially viable option, and that option is Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham.
Abraham is a player who has divided opinion for the duration of his playing career. Some are huge fans, noting his smart link-up play, his physicality and his ability to pop up in the box as his key attributes. Others think he’s not clinical enough in front of goal and believe he gets bullied by Premier League centre-backs too often. All of these arguments are valid, to an extent.
While there are doubtlessly weaknesses within Abraham’s game, his stronger assets help to build a profile incomparable to any striker currently on Arsenal’s books. Unlike Alexandre Lacazette, his tendency to drop deep is a natural one. Unlike Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, he poses an aerial threat and can act as a target man. Unlike all three of Lacazette, Nketiah and Balogun, he has a 15-goal Premier League season to his name. Attractive.
Abraham would add a much needed difference in flavour to Arsenal’s frontline. It often felt the likes of Kieran Tierney, Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe’s efforts to get the ball into the box for their striker was representative of wasted effort in 20/21. Abraham would change that.
While Abraham’s ability in the air has frustrated Chelsea fans over the years, his physical threat in itself would add a different dimension to Arsenal’s wide play. The mere presence of his sizeable frame inside the penalty area gives defender’s something to think about. The same can’t be said for the majority of the forwards in the current Arsenal squad.
This frame would also give Arsenal a different route out of defence during the build-up. You can fire long-balls at Abraham as evidenced by his impressive victories in 58.2% of his aerial duels last season in comparison to Aubameyang’s 32.6% and Lacazette’s 33%. With Abraham in your team, a lengthy punt forward can be an effective way out.
This elucidates exactly why a player of Abraham’s profile could transform the way Arsenal can play. Not because he offers anything particularly unique, but because he’d give Arteta’s Arsenal a plan B of which they didn’t have last season.
Of course, there are understandable concerns about Abraham’s finishing. In fairness, he bettered his non-penalty expected goals/90 of 0.56 with 0.58 non-penalty goals/90 in 20/21. However, the best strikers do tend to outperform their xG tallies by quite some distance. Arsenal fans would of course want Mikel Arteta to add a striker with more of a clinical touch to his squad this Summer, but that player frankly isn’t available for £40 million.
Furthermore, Abraham does have age on his side. Raheem Sterling is a prime example of a player who didn’t find his shooting boots till the latter stages of his career. The same can be said for Dominic Calvert-Lewin. A few years down the line, Abraham could turn into the clinical striker Arsenal are looking for.
Maturity would also likely lead to Abraham faring better against the experienced and well-built Premier League central-defenders who tend to dominate him. Many strikers don’t learn how to use their bodies to optimum effect until their late 20s and with the patency of promising shoots in this regard for Abraham already, this bodes well for future physical encounters further down the line for the Englishman.
Yes, if Arsenal were to sign Tammy Abraham, they’d again be bringing in something of a Chelsea reject. But, this time it’d be different. This time the player has room to improve. This time the player boasts an enticing age profile. This time the player could cement his place in the Arsenal first-team for the next decade.
Tammy Abraham would be a fantastic signing for Arsenal and no can tell me otherwise. If the club were to snap him up, it’d be a portrayal of yet another impressive bit of business from Arsenal this Summer.
All stats courtesy of FBref.com.