To say Arsenal’s defence was lacklustre this season would be an understatement. A good performance was always immediately cancelled out by howling mistakes and awful decision making. The likes of David Luiz, Sokratis and Mustafi half of the time looked solid. Then the other half of the time, you wonder how they costed over £60 million combined. There have been improvements under Mikel Arteta though and the arrival of William Saliba next season will give the Gunners more confidence at the back. That being said, could they add Axel Disasi to their ranks?
According to Charles Watts of GOAL, the North London side have formally contacted Reims about signing the 22 year old. The defender has had a solid campaign in Ligue 1, making 27 appearances in all competitions. He would reportedly cost £13 million, a surprisingly low fee in today’s transfer market. With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the finances of smaller clubs hard, Arsenal may even be able to get lower.
Watts also suggests there is strong interest in Disasi from West Ham and Southampton, alongside fellow French side Monaco. So why are so many clubs keeping a close eye on the centre back? We’ll give you a rundown:
Axel Disasi – Style of Play
At 6ft 3, Disasi is undoubtedly a dominant physical presence on the pitch. The video highlights his heading ability, making him difficult for forwards to bully as well as a large aerial threat in the opposition box. The French U20 international uses his body well to shield the ball. Often shrugging off opponents with ease and getting on the right side of the ball. He also has a great turn of pace, making him so hard to stop.
The Paris FC youth product is incredibly comfortable on the ball for a defender. Almost a requirement for a modern day central defender to be good with their feet. As the video shows, immediately after getting the ball, Disasi’s decision making looks great. He knows exactly when to clear it into Row Z, the ‘no-nonsense’ approach is it’s often labelled.
But also when to drive forward with the ball and build an attack from the back. Almost like a box to box midfielder on occasions, bursting forward and really helping Reims transition quickly. The 22 year old’s passing is also really impressive. The video really reflects why he’s averaging 4 long balls per game in Ligue 1. Inch perfect deliveries from just outside his own box into the feet of his striker in the final third With an 84.6% pass accuracy, it’s no surprise the Frenchman is willing to play out from the back. Perfect for a possession-based Arsenal side.
Defensively, Disasi has potential. Willing to get stuck in, the clips shows the commitment he puts into his challenges. The tendency to slide in as aggressively and powerfully as the former Paris FC defender does, is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s exactly what you want from a centre half. The video suggests he reads the game well to time going to ground perfectly. It enables him to really make statement to attackers, but also recover if someone has an extra yard on him.
Yet, it can be unforgiving, especially in England. With 1.4 fouls per game is a bit too high for a English top-flight defender. Disasi would need to learn to stay on his feet more and read the game better to position himself well. It’s not that sliding in is bad, but it’s definitely more risky and relies on getting the tackle spot on every time. Definitely more difficult in the Premier League, which is faster paced and generally has more intelligent forwards.
Still though, Axel Disasi has potential and could really be a steal for Arsenal at just £13 million. Watch this space…
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