More key passes than Wilshere but should Arsenal sign £15m Newcastle midfielder?

Arsenal are readying a January move for Newcastle midfielder Moussa Sissoko, according to recent reports.

According to The Sunday Times, Arsenal could turn to Newcastle's Moussa Sissoko as Arsene Wenger aims to reinforce his side and bring cover in for 22-year-old Jack Wilshere, who could be out of action until March.

Wilshere has been ruled out for three months after undergoing surgery this week on damaged ankle ligaments, and with Wenger looking to spend in January, it's highly conceivable that he'll bring in a replacement. In fact, reports suggest that the Frenchman had already earmarked a powerful midfield player, even prior to the England international's injury. 

Sissoko has been a key figure in Newcastle’s recovery after a start to the season that left supporters calling for manager Alan Pardew to be sacked. Nevertheless, after an impressive turn around, during which the club won seven matches in succession, the club have risen from the bottom half of the table to eighth.

There's no doubt Sissoko would provide a new level of dynamism to Wenger's side - his level of physicality is unmatched by the club's current crop of central midfielders. However, question marks will be raised when it comes to his technical ability, does he live up to the standard expected of the Gunners' star-studded attacking line-up?

When comparisons are drawn with Wilshere, it's difficult to come to a definitive conclusion. Both players have scored just one goal this season, although the Arsenal-man has managed this tally in fewer games, while being far more accurate with his shooting - hitting the target from 71% of his attempts, compared to the 38% of Sissoko. 

  PositionGoalsGoals/ AppShots/ AppShot Acc (%)AssistsKey Passes/ AppPasses/ AppPass Acc (%)AppsMins
Moussa Sissoko MF 1 0.08 0.92 25% 0 1.23 41.69 79% 13 1,155
Jack Wilshere MF 1 0.11 1.11 50% 1 0.78 40.89 83% 9 526

In terms of his creative ability, he has outclassed the Arsenal and England youngster. Wilshere has fashioned six chances in nine appearances (0.67 per game), assisting one goal, while Sissoko has played 16 key passes in 13 fixtures (1.23 per game). The French international is yet to record an assist, however. 

Despite averaging a greater number of passes per appearance, Sissoko averages a lower pass completion rate than Wilshere. Though, this comes as little surprise, considering the contrast of game styles within each player operates. Arsenal average 493 successful passes per fixture, compared to Newcastle's 319; a distinct disparity.  

With Jack Wilshere out of action for the foreseeable future, Arsenal are in need of midfield reinforcements, there can be no doubts about that. At 22 years of age, Sissoko is a player who possesses huge potential. If anything, the statistics suggest he would be an improvement on his prospective predecessor.

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