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The search for upgrades this summer continues for Arsenal. Despite the defensive frailties that have been exposed by weaker teams, attack seems to be the position taking the most priority.
Mesut Özil’s future is still under a lot of doubt, and after being linked with Arda Turan at Barcelona, Southampton’s Dusan Tadic is the latest to be a rumoured summer transfer target.
— Yahoo Sport UK (@YahooSportUK) March 27, 2017
The German international has struggled this term and with Wenger’s future and the talks over a new contract are still under doubt, but Özil doesn’t seem bothered.
“Do you think Arsène Wenger tells the journalists [about my future] before he tells me? I know him differently,” he told German newspaper Die Welt.
“I have a contract until 2018 in London and I feel very comfortable there. We'll talk soon and then make a decision.”
Using the word comfortable should be worrying for the home fans. Comfort is not good in football, and perhaps that is part of the reason for his slumping numbers this season.
Whether it’s a replacement, or someone to join the squad, Arsenal need fresh blood, the current players need competition, keeping them on their toes so they don’t become too ‘comfortable’.
Tadic is someone that could instantly give Arsenal another option in attack and with a reported €15million release clause, Southampton could lose their attacker and the Gunners would gain someone to help Özil regain his form from last term.
Who is Dusan Tadic?
The Serbian international joined the Saints in 2014 from Dutch side FC Twente and has enjoyed some ups and downs from his time in the Premier League.
Playing mostly on the left during his first season, he contributed eight assists and four goals, including when he set up four and scored one of Southampton strikes in an 8-0 win over Sunderland.
He would follow that up by dismissing the difficult second season, picking up 13 Premier League assists in 34 games, playing the majority on the left. The Serbian international also managed to double his goal tally from the previous campaign.
Now, playing under Claude Puel, the formation has changed slightly, with the Saints playing either 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, Tadic has played more in the centre of the pitch, with Nathan Redmond and James Ward-Prowse on the wings.
It has taken some time for the winger to adjust to the Frenchman’s tactics and now his season is starting to pick up speed.
What would Tadic bring to Arsenal?
Read More: Alternatives to signing Arda Turan
Although most gifted on his left foot, Tadic is very capable of scoring and assisting with his right too. That makes him a very dangerous option through the middle.
When he was playing on the left, it gave him the option of hitting the by-line, or cutting inside to deliver crosses, yet, when starting in the centre, he has the option of drifting down either flank.
In the recent win against Watford, Tadic was instrumental. With the scores level, the Serbian moved to the right, making pass and spreading the defence.
With his right-foot, he was able to pick out Redmond on the edge of the box and his shot found the far corner.
Later in the game, Tadic broke down the centre, showing his ability to play as a No.10. The centre-backs must respect his threat to break through the middle, so he has the option to find Redmond out wide left.
Then, with the defence trying to keep one eye on his run, the Hornets leave the winger one-on-one on the left, they can’t double team and he is again able to fire beyond Heurelho Gomes to win the game 4-2.
Özil v Tadic
The Serbian has averaged 2.5 shots per 90 minutes this term, more than the Arsenal man has made. Özil finds the target at a higher percentage, but if you don’t buy a ticket you can’t win the lottery.
Southampton may be 17 points behind Arsenal in the table, but Tadic is beating more players off the dribbles, something that is key when you are trying to breakdown stubborn defences, an issue that plagues the Gunners quite a bit. The Serbian is more skilled at drifting into areas of space and looking to fire crosses into the box, something that both Alexis Sánchez and Olivier Giroud would benefit from.
The French striker showed in his double against Luxembourg at the weekend that he is still able to thrive on quick, early service into the box.
With 2.6 key passes and 1.9 accurate crosses per 90 minutes, Tadic is a great option to provide just that.
Considering he makes 25 fewer passes than Özil, much down to the different styles of both teams, it would be extremely interesting to see how the 28-year-old would improve if he made the step up.
Would it be a positive move for Arsenal?
For a release clause of £13million, it is an absolute bargain to pick up a player of his experience and Premier League suitability in the summer.
The Serbian is one of Saints highest earners, but on the reported £60,000-a-week, there are over 15 players in the Gunners squad earning more and he could gain a wage rise without threatening the likes of Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi on £90,000-a-week.
Everything about this move makes sense for both player and club. Even if Özil stays beyond the summer, Wenger needs options, players that can push the German on, play with him or even replace him and Tadic offers all that and more.