Reports coming out of Germany have indicated that Arsenal have agreed to meet Kerem Demirbay’s £28m buyout clause, and bring him to North London this summer. The former Hamburg and Dortmund midfielder has enjoyed a fantastic 18 months with Hoffenheim.
At 24 years old, Kerem Demirbay has finally lived up to his potential, gaining international recognition in the process due to his all action playing style. The German international was instrumental in Hoffenheim’s third place finish last season, and it appears he drawn the attention of Arsenal’s scouting network, but do they need another box to box midfielder?
Arsenal currently have Granit Xhaka, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey operating in the middle of the park, with the later playing the same role as Kerem Demirbay. Both are in excellent form and have been able to cover for each other when injuries have struck, which makes this signing a peculiar one, even by Arsenal’s standard.
For 10 years, it has been apparent that Arsenal need an orthodox central defensive midfielder, in the mould of Gilberto, Makelele or Kante, not another all-rounder. They need a round peg in a round hole – a man that spots danger and mops it up, allowing his teammates to play. Arsenal fans often talk about a Vieira type midfielder, but he was not a defensive midfielder, he was a dominant, all action, aggressive midfield general who could drag a team through games.
But, despite all Vieira’s qualities, he needed someone beside him (Petit or Gilberto) to mop up and seek out the dangers. This situation is similar with Arsenal’s current crop. Arsenal have two top class midfielder in Ramsey and Wilshere, but they need someone to sit behind them and shield the back four. They need the kind of player who would have a nose bleed if he crossed the half way line.
Unfortunately for Arsenal, Kerem Demirbay is not that man. He’s a man who, like Ramsey, wants to push forward and get into the box. He wants to get involved in the build-up play, and while he will track back, he will be caught out defensively if there is no one beside him to focus purely on the defensive side of the game.
Kerem Demirbay’s buyout clause is reasonable at £28m, but Arsenal would be much better investing this money elsewhere. They need a world class holding midfielder to unleash Aaron Ramsey, and allow Ozil and Mhkitaryan to unleash their mercurial wizardry, not another box to box player. Holding midfielders are difficult to find, but with Sven Mislintat’s golden eye, Arsenal will be in safe hands when it comes to finding the right man.