In Focus: Which left-back should Arsenal sign this summer?
Arsenal are in the market for a left-back this summer — but finding the right man for the job will not be easy.
The Gunners had a good January transfer window yet cover for Kieran Tierney was the one glaring admission and right-back Cedric Soares has been forced to deputise.
Ahead of the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie with Olympiacos tonight, we run the rule over some potential options.
The main man
Tierney, 23, has made the left-back berth his own and looks set to become a mainstay in Arsenal’s starting line-up for years to come.
But that does not make it easy for Mikel Arteta (pictured above) and technical director Edu when it comes to recruiting an understudy.
Anyone arriving at the Emirates Stadium will know they are going to have to sit on the bench for most games, which is a hard sell to prospective signings of the required quality.
Matching Tierney’s profile
Arsenal will be looking to mirror Tierney’s skill set when scouting for someone to battle for the No3 shirt.
Whoever is signed must be a left-footed, attack-minded full-back, who is also defensively solid.
The sheer volume of balls Tierney delivers into the box is also notable, having attempted 4.82 crosses per 90 minutes this season — just outside the Premier League’s top 30 players.
What do the stats say?
Someone who immediately jumps off the page from Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues — at least in terms of his statistical output — is Hertha Berlin left-back Maximilian Mittelstadt.
The 23-year-old has attempted 4.73 crosses per 90 minutes and completed 1.25, both of which place him within the Bundesliga’s top 25 performers.
The former Germany Under-21 international is also defensively solid — winning back possession four times per game this season — and reportedly has a market value of around £7million.
An alternative option is Stuttgart’s Borna Sosa, also 23.
The Croatian has supplied a staggering eight assists this term at an average of 0.48 per 90 minutes, which puts him eighth in the Bundesliga.
He is also second for crosses, ninth for passes into the penalty area and fourth for crosses into the box.
The man in the frame
Recent reports suggest Arsenal are looking at ex-Aston Villa man Jordan Amavi, who will be available on a free transfer when his Marseille contract expires this summer.
And former Villa team-mate Alan Hutton believes Frenchman Amavi, 27, could be a good signing for the Gunners.
Hutton said: "I thought he was a fantastic player. He's really gone away and shown that at Marseille, which is a massive club on its own.
"He was always a talented player. Again, very attack-minded, he could get caught out once or twice but I think he's improved that.
"He's a little bit older now, he's experienced the Premier League so he'd know what he's stepping into."
Who do Arsenal target?
A budget-friendly option is clearly the preference for Arsenal’s hierarchy.
The Gunners were linked with Ryan Bertrand and Patrick van Aanholt in January — both of whom will be free agents this summer.
But The Athletic report the club are keen to sign a younger player to deputise for Tierney, which would rule out the duo given they are both now the wrong side of 30.
The Bundesliga has been fertile ground for recruitment in the past for Arsenal. If they can strike a deal for Sosa or Mittelstadt, it may prove so again.