The last part of the campaign is approaching and as a result, many clubs are starting to look ahead to the job they will be looking for when the summer transfer window opens.
Arsenal are associated with various names, but probably the most prominent at the moment is Philippe Coutinho, who has remained in contract with Barcelona since moving from Liverpool in January 2018.
The Brazilian has been injured for most of the current season, so it remains to be seen where he is with Ronald Coeman, but it is reasonable to suggest that the Spanish giants have been trying to move Coutinho out of their books for some time.
He spent last season on loan at Bayern Munich – who did not decide to take over the shopping option – and is now being linked with a return to England.
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Although the South American clearly possesses undeniable quality, many Topnik supporters are confused by speculation regarding Martin Odegaard’s form in the Emirates.
The Real Madrid loan player has recovered late, and rumors suggest Arsenal are interested in making his short-term contract permanent for the summer if Zinedine Zidane allows it.
Ahead of a potential summer decision for Mikel Arteta and Edo, let’s compare those two talents to determine how they differ using their league numbers from 2019.
In terms of offering the threat of scoring, Coutinho seems to hold the advantage; the number of goals scored by the 28-year-old at 90 – excluding penalties – during the period in question is twice the Odegaard average.
Coutinho scored nine non-penalty goals against five Odegaards at the time, despite the latter playing more than 1,000 minutes more.
Scoring stems from Coutinho’s tendency to shoot when the opportunity arises, from 3.7 effort to 90, which is especially high for a player who is not deployed as a striker.
Odegaard, in context, averaged just 1.7 goal attempts at 90 in Arsenal, Madrid and Real Sociedad.
However, the numbers are much closer in the creative department, as the Norwegian is in first place in terms of key passes per 90.
From a perspective, a key pass is a pass that directly leads to a shot, and Odegaard averaged 2.1 out of 90 versus Coutinho’s 1.7.
The 22-year-old also finds a penalty area with passes more often, although he was a little less inclined to move his team towards the average with less progressive passes.
The former Liverpool man dribbled more often according to the numbers, and he also seems more likely to carry the ball when in possession, even though they are closely matched.
In the end, the comparison is interesting.
The summer transition period is just around the corner.
And the rumor mill is already starting to accelerate.
Arsenal will not have a huge amount of money to spend, but Mikel Arteta will hopefully pull a number of moves, and borrower Martin Odegaard is high on the list of priorities for reaching a lasting agreement.
But who would you sign? Join our discussion on the transition period here.
Coutinho offers a lot of what Odegaard does, but even though he poses a much bigger threat for points compared to the Madrid youngster, who seems more inclined to supply his teammates.
Arsenal will have to strongly consider Coutinho’s age – as he is six years older – but given reports that Barcelona are ready to accept around £ 35m for his services, it could end up being a cheaper option.
It remains to be seen whether the Gunners will find his added goal threat worth chasing in front of Odegaard, but there are certainly plenty of reasons why he would consider it an attractive option.