Onana: Why Towering Midfielder Could Be the Answer to Arsenal’s Problems

Onana: Why Towering Midfielder Could Be the Answer to Arsenal’s Problems

Rene Otinga
updated at February 23, 2024 at 3:12 PM
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  • Amadou Onana has been one of the better performers for Everton
  • The Belgian has been linked with a sensational move to Arsenal
  • He could be the missing link between the Gunners and silverware

Arsenal will want to improve their squad next season, whether they win the Premier League in 2023/24 or not.

One of the Gunners’ problem areas has been in midfield, and despite the £105m acquisition of Declan Rice, there is only so much the England international can do on his own in the middle of the park.

Amadou Onana has been linked with a move to Arsenal
Amadou Onana during Everton FC vs Crystal Palace at Goodison Park on February 19, 2024 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Matt McNulty
Source: Getty Images

In recent weeks, Arsenal have been linked with towering Everton midfielder Amadou Onana, whose performances for the Toffees have put a number of clubs on high alert.

The midfielder will not go for cheap, though, as it has been reported that the Toffees want £80m to let him go, according to Caught Offside.

Sports Brief now takes a look at why Arsenal may want to break the bank to acquire the Belgium international.

1. Onana would complete Arsenal’s midfield

On paper, the acquisition of Onana would not only complete Arsenal’s midfield, but the entire team in general.

Arsenal’s midfield currently comprises Rice, Mohamed Elneny, Jorginho, Thomas Partey, Fabio Vieira and Reiss Nelson.

Depending on how you look at it, the Gunners also have other midfielders to turn to, but players like Martin Odegaard, Leandro Trossard and Emile-Smith Rowe are offered more freedom to go up front.

In other words, Rice does not have a solid midfield partner who can back him in his absence, and Onana would be the perfect fit. His addition would surely make Arsenal’s midfield a formidable one against any opponent.

2. Less injury prone

One attribute of a top player is his ability to put in minutes, game after game.

Onana possesses this trait, as he rarely experiences significant injury setbacks, unlike Arsenal’s Ghanaian midfielder Thomas Partey, whose 2023/24 season has been plagued with muscle injuries.

The longest Onana has been out through injury is 27 days, when he missed four games for Everton from November 11, 2023, to December 8, per Transfermarkt.

3. Physical presence

The 22-year-old stands at a towering 1.92 m (6’5”), making him one of the tallest midfielders in the Premier League.

This alone makes him an intimidating physical presence for opponents, and this has proven to be a huge advantage for Sean Dyche’s side this season.

Onana loves a midfield battle, and his long legs are perfect for collecting loose balls and tackling attackers.

4. Height advantage

Still on Onana’s physical attributes, His height could also come in handy for Arsenal, especially during corners, which the Gunners are fond of this season if stats are anything to go by.

Mikel Arteta’s side have the second-most corners in the Premier League this season with 188.

Arsenal are also lethal on set-pieces this season, scoring more goals than any other team in the English top flight.

Now imagine adding a 6’5” to the squad to attack set-pieces.

5. A perfect double-pivot player

In terms of his playing style, Onana could be just what Arteta needs in midfield.

The midfielder has an immense ball-carrying ability, reminiscent of Yaya Toure and Patrick Vieira.

Once he picks the ball from deep, he can quickly orchestrate an attack with his long strides, and his physicality makes it impossible to pick the ball off him.

If he partners with Rice in midfield, it would be the perfect combination as the duo could alternate on who carries the ball forward and who sits back to protect the defence.

6. He can perfectly fit into Arteta’s style of play

Alternatively, Onana can be carved into a single pivot, and the positional discipline of sticking deep in midfield helps create a free man to progress attacks.

This system, known among football managers as Juego de Posicion (or positional play) is common with modern managers like Mikel Arteta and Roberto de Zerbi, but they are heavily reliant on players who are good ball carriers.

A proper carrier of the ball tends to attract two or more opponents towards him, and this 1v2 scenario creates space to pass to other unmarked players.

Hypothetically, the planned interchanging of positions between Rice and Onana can easily confuse the opposition and beat the press.

Greenwood could return to Manchester United

Still on transfer news, Mason Greenwood would be open to returning to Manchester United, according to fresh reports.

As Sports Brief reported, INEOS chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe opened the door for Greenwood’s possible return, saying a decision on the striker would be made and justified.

His performances while on loan at Getafe have attracted interest from Barcelona. Mason Greenwood could return to Manchester United.

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Rene Otinga
Rene Otinga is a sports journalist with over eight years of working experience in digital media. Rene's experience includes working as a Copywriter at X News Kenya and TUKO.co.ke.