Did Arsenal dodge a bullet by missing out on £11.5m Real Madrid man?

Arsenal missed out on Lucas Silva to Real Madrid, but how has he compared to the current Gunners midfield?

22-year-old Lucas Silva was a big target for the Gunners during the January transfer window, but he ended up signing for Real Madrid for roughly £11.5 million, according to the Daily Mail.

At the time Silva was considered another potential star that Arsenal missed out on, with the defensive midfielder considered one of the best in his position in his native Brazil. With the North London club needing a holding player for the long-term future, Silva was considered the potential fix, and it was seen as a big loss when the move to Madrid was completed.

However, Silva’s start in La Liga has not been as great as many would have expected, and so we compare him to the Gunners' current midfield options to asses whether they dodged a bullet by missing out on the Brazilian starlet.

Silva has made four appearances for Los Blancos, starting three games, and has been the least effective midfielder in those games - despite Carlo Ancelotti’s desire to keep playing him.

He has completed just 0.2 tackles per game, one interception per game, and has yet to complete a clearance or a block. As a ball-playing deep-lying midfielder, his low defensive output is not a surprise, but with Arsenal looking to sign a holding player, it seems as if they were targeting the wrong man.

The Gunners have utilised Francis Coquelin in that role since December, and it looks like he kept his place due to missing out on Silva. However, the Frenchman has excelled, and it looks as if he is the much better option in the tough-man role.

  Tackles Won per GameInterceptions per GameBlocks per GameDuels Won per Game
Francis Coquelin 2.6 3.2 0.5 8.4

Despite not playing much more football than Silva, Coquelin has been far better in the defensive role than the Brazilian, and he has certainly suggested that he has a long-term future at the Emirates.

Attempting to sign Silva as a defensive midfielder seems a mistake, as he is much more of a ball-player, but it looks as if he is far from matching up with the Gunners' current options in that position as well.

  Passes per GamePassing AccuracyKey Passes per GameTouches per GameAppearances
Mikel Arteta 60 93.8% 0.4 67.7 7
Aaron Ramsey 55.7 84.5% 1.6 72 18
Mathieu Flamini 44.1 91.8% 0.3 54.8 19
Jack Wilshere 40.9 82.9% 0.8 53.1 9
Lucas Silva 28.7 92.8% 0 73 4
Tomas Rosicky 29.85 87.1% 0.3 35.2 12

As can be seen, Silva is much worse with his passing statistics than that majority of the Arsenal midfield. He may have a remarkably high passing completion rate, but he plays fewer passes per game than every Gunners star, and has yet to play a single key pass. He does touch the ball more than the Arsenal players, but he is very wasteful - as he is worse with his passing of the ball.

Silva’s stats present an extremely small sample size, but he has yet to prove that he would have been a good signing for the Gunners. He does not fulfil the role of defensive midfielder they arguably still need - despite Coquelin’s breakthrough - and he has shown nothing that suggests he is an improvement on the current Arsenal midfield. He may improve in the future, but, right now, Silva certainly looks like a bullet dodged when assessing Arsenal’s transfer business.

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