In our latest instalment of the Flashback series, we take a look back at a certain moment and look at how things might have changed those initial reactions.
Arsenal sold Alex Iwobi to Everton during the summer of 2019 for a fee reaching £34m, according to the BBC.
The move was met with glee from some of the Emirates Stadium faithful, who thought the club got a real bargain when the collected such a high fee for the Nigeria international (via The Sun). However, with a great imbalance in Arsenal’s attack, the sale is beginning to look like a mistake.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is being asked to take up a position on the left-wing as Unai Emery looks to compensate for having both him and Alexandre in the starting XI. However, he is struggling to impose himself whilst in that position, as seen in the game against Leicester City.
His heatmap shows that he was asked to play across the front three attacking positions rather than stick to his natural striking position in the centre of the pitch (via WhoScored). His struggles were clear to see, statistically, as he had just one shot at goal, showing his inability to get into goalscoring positions to make the most of his finishing ability.
In stark contrast, Iwobi was a prominent fixture in the line up for manager Unai Emery last season, having featured 38 times out of his 51 appearances out on the left-wing. He proved quite fruitful in the position, scoring six goals and contributing seven assists as he showed he had the quality to make a difference in Emery’s system (via Transfermarkt).
Bukayo Saka has been given a chance, however, his mix of age and inexperience means he is the worst possible option at this moment in time to fill the slot. Gabriel Martinelli and Reiss Nelson have also been afforded the opportunity in the English top-flight, however, neither player has scored or assisted a goal across eight appearances combined.
Arsenal’s decision to sell one of their experienced out-and-out wingers may have seemed like a good decision at the time due to the fee collected. However, it’s a move that they surely regret now, as they have next to no threat from their wingers and are shoehorning an elite front man into an uncomfortable position.
Arsenal fans, what do you make of the decision to sell Iwobi? Let us know your thoughts!
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