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Why Arsenal must hijack Spurs' move for Kondogbia - the 'new Vieira'

COMMENT: Arsenal are an unpredictable club. One game they could be playing scintillating football, passing teams off the park and putting the ball into the back of the net; the next, their midfield could disappear into thin air whilst their opponent goes on to score goals that could've been preventable.

Many have attributed Arsenal's problems to quite a number of factors such as injury problems, Arsene Wenger's supposed archaic ways, a lack of leadership as well as a lack of commitment, just to name a few.

Whilst they may have some influence on Arsenal's performances, the Gunners' real problem is the absence of a midfield enforcer capable of bringing some much-needed balance to the middle of the park.

Ever since Patrick Vieira left Arsenal in 2005, Arsene Wenger has been unable to acquire a long-term player capable of keeping things tidy in the middle of the park and acting as a great cover for the defence.

Francis Coquelin's brief time in that box-to-box role for Arsenal in the 2014/15 season showed the effect a competent midfielder can have on the team, but he's since fallen down the pecking order due to his lacklustre showings in subsequent campaigns.

With Arsenal's midfield in dire need of balance, Arsene Wenger would do well to hijack a current target of their fierce rivals, Spurs – Geoffrey Kondogbia.

Kondogbia arrived at Inter Milan in 2015 for a fee of around £25m. He went on to become a mainstay at the club before he was allowed to leave on loan to Valencia at the start of the season, a move Inter probably regret at the moment judging by his recent performances.

Quality midfield enforcers will be hard to come by during the January transfer window, and considering how this season is likely to pan out, it would benefit Arsenal a great deal if they started looking at deals for when the season ends.

Tottenham are reportedly keen on signing the French midfielder at the end of the term as a replacement for Moussa Dembele, whose fitness has been a major concern for Spurs in recent times. But Arsene Wenger would do well to also move in for Kondogbia considering his side's current plight in the middle of the park.

Kondogbia has played a crucial role in Valencia's superb start to the current La Liga season. Los Che currently sit second on the La Liga table having lost just one game thus far.

The same can't be said for the Gunners as their struggles with inconsistency have left them seventh on the Premier League table and hardly anything suggests that this season will be a memorable one for them. They've lacked power in the midfield with the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka being unable to provide the presence required to dominate the midfield in the same manner as Chelsea's N'Golo Kante.

Standing at 6ft 2in, Kondogbia is quite decent at winning aerial duels and getting players off the ball. So far this term, he's scored three goals and registered an assist in 13 La Liga appearances. He currently wins 2.40 tackles per 90 minutes, which is good considering Chelsea's N'Golo Kante, who is widely revered in the Premier League, has a slight edge with 2.53 tackles per 90.

Despite being big, strong and a good ball-winner, Kondogbia averages an 88% pass completion rate which highlights his ability to distribute the ball.

He'd evidently slot right into Arsenal's midfield should they make a move ahead of Spurs in the summer.

There's a chance, though, that Valencia will opt to make his loan deal permanent come the end of the season as they reportedly have an option to sign him once his loan comes to an end, but as we've learnt over the years, it'd be unwise to underestimate the purchasing power of Premier League clubs.

Phillip Ekuwem
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Phillip Ekuwem

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