How does Arsenal target Rodrigo Caio compare to Ignasi Miquel?

Arsene Wenger at Training - 18/02/2014

Arsenal are linked with a £7 million offer for Brazilian youngster Rodrigo Caio but how does the centre back compare with another starlet already on the Gunners’ books?

The 20-year-old Sao Paulo centre back has impressed this term in his native Brazil. According to reports, his performances have attracted the interest of Arsenal whose chief scout Steve Rowley has been keeping tabs on the youngster.

Arsenal would likely see him as a prospect for the future, a young player to understudy the current pairing in the North Londoners’ backline, Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker. Gunners captain Thomas Vermaelen still has question marks hanging over his head and his future at the Emirates – the Belgian is linked with interest from Premier League rivals Manchester United.

If the Brazil U20 star made his way to the Emirates it would be to develop as a potential partner for Spain under-21 defender Ignasi Miquel who has been at Arsenal since the tender age of 14 when he signed in 2008.

The 21-year-old Spaniard went out on his first loan spell last term with Leicester City to gain experience which suggests Gunners boss Arsene Wenger may see him being readied for the first team in the coming season or two. The outgoing of Johan Djourou makes way for the former Barcelona academy trainee who has made just five appearances for the Gunners so far at senior level.

The pair seem fairly well matched with the Brazilian perhaps the further along in his development but, of course, still lacking the experience of the English game.

Caio averages three tackles per game to Miquel’s 1.7 per game and the pair make almost the same number of interceptions but the Spaniard makes almost double the number of clearances (at least he did last term in the Championship).

They make almost the same number of blocks (1.7 per game) and concede the same number of fouls (0.7 per game) but Caio achieved a higher pass completion rate last term of 86.3% to Miquel’s 81.2% with Leicester.

Sao Paulo are, however, a very different side to Leicester, competing in a very different league in the Brasileirao under different conditions but, nonetheless, the pair on paper are remarkably well matched.

Miquel is arguably better suited to the physicality of the Premier League, given his 6ft4” stature to Caio’s 5ft11”.

Arsene Wenger may view Rodrigo Caio as the ideal central defensive partner one day for Ignasi Miquel who can both perhaps learn the ropes under the current first choice back pair until they are ready to replace them.

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