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Arsenal: Daniele Rugani ‘not much better’ than Shkodran Mustafi, according to Stewart Robson

Arsenal: Daniele Rugani ‘not much better’ than Shkodran Mustafi, according to Stewart Robson

‘He’ll be better than Mustafi’ – Pundit gives lukewarm review of defensive Arsenal target

Former Arsenal midfielder Stewart Robson believes reported Gunners target Daniele Rugani would improve the side’s defence, but stopped short of giving a glowing recommendation of the Italian centre-back.

Rugani won a fourth straight league championship at Juventus, but has struggled to hold down a regular spot at the Serie A champions – never appearing more than 26 times in a season since his move from Empoli in 2015.

Reports in Italy suggest that Arsenal had agreed personal terms with Rugani, but Robson is not totally convinced by the defender – with a positive comparison to Shkodran Mustafi all he could muster.

He told ESPN FC: “He’s a good player, but he’s not an outstanding centre-half as far as I’m concerned. I’ve seen him a lot when he has played for Juventus. He hasn’t got one outstanding attribute – he’s decent in the air, he’s got okay pace, he can read the game quite well, he can come out with the ball okay – but he’s not got one outstanding feature.

“And that’s why he hasn’t made that many appearances for Juventus, because every time he’s had a chance, he hasn’t quite done enough to replace the likes of [Leonardo] Bonucci or [Giorgio] Chiellini.

“He’ll be better than [Shkodran] Mustafi, but not that much better.”

The stats back up Robson’s evaluation – as amongst his fellow Juventus defenders last season, Rugani conceded 0.73 goals per game (per FootyStats), which was only a lower rate than Martin Caceres, while Giorgio Chiellini only allowed 0.54 goals per game – in 15 more appearances.

However, Mustafi – part of an Arsenal defence that shipped 51 goals in the league alone last season – conceded 1.24 goals per game in 2018/19, almost double that of Rugani.

Therefore, if solidifying the Gunners’ defence is the motive behind recruiting another centre-back at Arsenal, Rugani’s addition may make an improvement – but success in north London may be limited.

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Article title: Arsenal: Daniele Rugani ‘not much better’ than Shkodran Mustafi, according to Stewart Robson

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