Did Arsenal make a £7m mistake when 'new Vieira' signed for West Ham?

Arsenal were linked with Cheikhou Kouyate this summer - but he signed for West Ham instead.

Arsenal's season has been one of wild fluctuation; Wednesday night's 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund was a great result, but it came just weeks after they lost 2-1 away at Swansea City.

Some fans are calling for Arsene Wenger to be sacked, but that looks unlikely right now - despite some lingering concerns over his summer transfer business.

Big money was spent as David Ospina, Calum Chambers, Mathieu Debuchy, Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck arrived at the Emirates Stadium, but there remains a crippling lack of a defensive midfielder.

One of the names linked with a move to North London was Cheikhou Kouyate, who was starring in Belgium with Anderlecht before joining West Ham United for just £7m.

The 6ft 4in Senegal international has impressed at Upton Park so far, providing displays that have led to manager Sam Allardyce labeling him as the next Patrick Vieira - who was of course a legend for Arsenal.

Gunners fans don't like the use of Mikel Arteta and/or Mathieu Flamini in front of the back four, so how does Kouyate compare to the current Arsenal duo; just months after he could've made the move to the Emirates Stadium?

  PositionTeamWon TackleFouls ConcededInterceptionTouchesTotal PassAccurate PassesAppearancesMins Played
Mathieu Flamini MF Arsenal 21 13 26 603 492 456 9 743
Cheikhou Kouyaté MF West Ham 18 14 9 343 226 183 8 629
Mikel Arteta MF Arsenal 9 11 5 474 420 394 7 450

The stats are of course not the be all and end all in this discussion, but they do make for interesting reading when it comes to comparing Arteta, Flamini and Kouyate.

We see that Kouyate has won almost as many tackles as Flamini and twice as many as Arteta, but has conceded the most fouls. Kouyate breaks up play well, and that's something Arsenal need to protect the back four.

Yet his reading of the game could seemingly be better, with Flamini racking up almost three times as many interceptions as Kouyate - despite being regularly derided by Arsenal fans.

When it comes to being in possession, Flamini again leads the way with the most touches, most passes and most accurate passes - areas where Kouyate is dead last in each category.

Still seen as a raw player at 24, Kouyate needs to develop his technical abilities if he is to make the step up to a bigger club, and maybe he needed that move to West Ham to hone his skills in the Premier League first.

Kouyate's athletic ability makes him an intriguing prospect to add some physicality to the Arsenal side, and he should be monitored in the coming months as a potential target in the future - but maybe Wenger made the right decision to wait rather than sign him this summer.

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