Would Arsenal be targeting Newcastle’s Moussa Sissoko for all the wrong reasons?

Newcastle United

Arsenal are reported to be keen on signing Newcastle United’s Moussa Sissoko in the January transfer window.

Sissoko has repeatedly claimed his future lies with the Magpies, but should Arsenal come calling, there is no doubting that he could make the switch to North London.

The 25-year-old midfielder admitted that a move to the Gunners would be a dream, and Arsenal’s interest in the French international has been long standing. Arsene Wenger is said to be keen on the player, and, with Sissoko enjoying an impressive season for the Magpies, Alan Pardew has admitted that he fears the midfielder will be leaving the club on January.

However, it appears as if the Gunners are targeting Sissoko to fill a role he was not meant to play.

With the Gunners still searching for a long-term replacement for Patrick Viera - who left the club almost 10 years ago - many players have been signed by the club to provide energy and strength in the midfield. Primarily a defensive aid, Viera was renowned for his tackling and reading of the game, and his absence has been felt since he left the club to sign for Juventus in 2005.

No player has properly provided the same skill set as Viera, and it looks as if Sissoko is being brought to the club to fill that role, despite being far removed from the former Gunners captain. Most well regarded for his wide play, the Frenchman is also becoming increasingly adept at filling in the number 10 role, although it appears as if it would be unwise for him to change to a defensive midfield should he transfer to the Gunners.

  Total TackleAerial Won
Moussa Sissoko 18 20

Despite playing 17 games, Sissoko has completed just 18 tackles, and only 20 aerial duels, and his physicality is not well set to winning the ball. He may look impressive when running with the ball with strength through the middle of the park - as he shakes opponents off with ease - but he appears to have a real problem with tackling others.

  Accurate PassPassing Accuracy
Moussa Sissoko 539 79%

He is also let down by his on-the-ball play, with his pass completion rate of 79% far below that expected by an Arsenal player, with the club favouring a possession-based approach.

There is no doubt that Sissoko will make the switch to the Emirates Stadium in the future, with whether it happens in January the summer all the remains to be seen. However, Wenger’s targeting of the Newcastle man appears to be misguided, and whilst he could be a success for the Gunners, there still needs to be strengthening in the Arsenal defensive ranks should a first place finish be the real aim.

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