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Why Arsenal should not sign Djed Spence

Why Arsenal should not sign Djed Spence

Why Arsenal should not sign Djed Spence

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Why Arsenal should not sign Djed Spence

Arsenal linked with Middlesbrough’s Djed Spence

Recent reports have credited Arsenal with an interest in Middlesbrough defender, Djed Spence.

At first glance, it is easy to see why the Gunners may have some interest in the man currently on loan at Nottingham Forest.

Spence recently spent 90 minutes bombing down Arsenal’s left-flank, causing them all sorts of issues as Mikel Arteta’s side crashed out of the FA Cup at their first hurdle.

For Forrest meanwhile, Spence has received wide-spread praise from their fans for his attacking prowess and ability to cause Championship defenders a whole host of issues.

On the Arsenal front, meanwhile, it is fair to say that their back-up options for Takehiro Tomiyasu are not the greatest at present.

Cedric Soares, 30, is an inconsistent option that no longer really fits the mould of this promising, young Arsenal side.

Elsewhere, Calum Chambers is a dubious option for that role at best.

So, with the Gunners probably in need of some fresh legs at right-back and Spence seemingly fitting the criteria for new Arsenal recruits when it comes to age, why wouldn’t they want to sign him?

Why Arsenal should not sign Djed Spence

Well, here’s why.

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal operate with a back-four system for the most part. However, their full-backs have very different jobs.

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On the left, one of Nuno Tavares or Kieran Tierney is tasked with bombing forward to provide width and creative support when Arsenal have the ball.

On the opposite flank, meanwhile, the right-back is generally asked to stick back and form a back-three with Arsenal’s two centre-backs when in possession.

Takehiro Tomiyasu, a man whose signing was mocked live on Sky over the summer, fits this bill perfectly.

The Japan international may lack quality going forward, but his defensive game is superb, something that is probably helped by the fact he can also play as a centre-back anyway.

Spence, though, does not come close to fitting what Arsenal want in a right-back.

The 21-year-old, though very talented going forward, is an often inconsistent player who forgoes his defensive duties in favour of attacking. This is what led to the Englishman being loaned out by then Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock over the summer of 2021.

Warnock is a more traditional coach who favours defensive work rate and discipline in his defenders over attacking ability.

And whilst Arsenal do not want this all the time, it is clear Arteta favours it in his right-backs.

101 recently covered a report that stated Arsenal were close to signing Emerson Royal over the summer, but Mikel Arteta pulled the plug.

The Athletic, meanwhile, reported back in September that Arsenal had targeted a very specific profile at right-back, looking for a full-back who can tuck into central areas in possession, enabling Arsenal to build up in a back-three if so desired (the asymmetrical system Arteta generally uses).

So, though talks are thought to have progressed with Emerson, it is easy to see why Arsenal coaching staff were concerned he would not fit the system.

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And, though not a like-for-like player, Spence is a much more similar option to Emerson than he is to Tomiyasu, making his signing a potentially odd one at best – unless Arteta is looking to completely revamp his system, which seems unlikely.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 22 41 56
2 Liverpool FC 21 37 45
3 Chelsea FC 23 28 44
4 West Ham United 22 11 37
5 Arsenal FC 20 8 35
6 Tottenham Hotspur 18 3 33
7 Manchester United 20 3 32
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 20 2 31
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 21 29
10 Leicester City 18 -2 25
11 Crystal Palace 21 -1 24
12 Southampton FC 21 -8 24
13 Aston Villa 20 -5 23
14 Brentford FC 21 -9 23
15 Leeds United 20 -15 22
16 Everton FC 19 -10 19
17 Watford FC 19 -14 14
18 Norwich City 21 -35 13
19 Newcastle United 20 -23 12
20 Burnley FC 17 -11 11
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Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 16
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 8
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 8
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 8
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 8
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 8
Raphinha Leeds United 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 8
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 7
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 7
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 7
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 6
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 6
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 6
Ward Prowse, James Southampton FC 6

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