Stats: How Arsenal defensive midfield target compares to Arteta and Flamini

Arsenal v Southampton 2012 Pregame with Schneiderlin

How does Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin compare to Arsene Wenger's current options?

According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal have ramped up their interest in Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin.

Recent reports suggest Arsene Wenger, who is in Brazil working for French TV, watched the France international in his nation's group match with Ecuador and has instructed club scouts to keep tabs on the 24-year-old.

This is in aid of evaluating Schneiderlin's ability to play at the highest level, considering the huge step up in class that the World Cup entails.

Should he make the switch to the Emirates, Schneiderlin will provide stiff competition for Mikel Arteta or Mathieu Flamini, assuming Aaron Ramsey is guaranteed a midfield role in Wenger's 4-2-3-1 system.

Below we look at the each players’ statistics from the previous Premier League season, courtesy of Opta, to decide if the Southampton-man would break into the Gunners' starting eleven upon arrival.

  TeamPos Goal AssistTotal Att Assist / appsTotal Pass / appsPass Acc (%)Won Tackle / appsInterception Won / appsWon Contest / appsTouches / appsAppsMins
Morgan Schneiderlin Southampton MF 1 0.91 58.39 89.36 2.64 2.06 0.64 72.67 33 2,766
Mikel Arteta Arsenal MF 0 0.61 69.42 92.10 2.29 2.03 0.55 82.68 31 2,407
Mathieu Flamini Arsenal MF 0 0.26 41.67 91.47 0.93 1.44 0.19 51.48 27 1,604

When it comes to overall midfield efficiency, Southampton's Schneiderlin gets the plaudits.

The Frenchman is terrific at winning and then recycling the ball. He is phenomenal in the tackle, winning a greater number of challenges per match than both Arsenal players, and his attacking distribution also proves superior. He created a goal scoring opportunity far more regularly than Mikel Arteta last campaign, despite registering fewer passes.

Arsenal's fast-moving playing style weighs favourably to a greater number of touches per player than Southampton, yet only Arteta averages more touches of the ball in each match. Schneiderlin's pass completion rate is also marginally inferior to the Gunners duo, yet he is significantly more successful in the dribble.

The Saints number four has also proven adept when evaluating his ability to read the game. He has averaged over two interceptions per match; a total greater than that of both Arteta and Flamini. This awareness would prove a valuable asset to Wenger, who is clearly seeking the perfect balance between attack and defence in his star-studded midfield.

Schneiderlin seems the perfect upgrade for the ageing Arsenal duo and the statistics support this view. Members of the Gunners' backroom staff reportedly believe the Frenchman is the answer to the club's search for a new holding midfielder but know they will face a battle to lure the midfielder from Southampton.

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