Noussair Mazraoui: The solution to Arsenal’s right back problems?

Varun Pai
By Varun Pai
5 Min Read

There are several problems in the current Arsenal squad, and Mikel Arteta is trying to move the dead weight out as soon as possible. However, moving people out would also require the Gunners to bring new players in to replace the dead weight. An area of concern for Arsenal since the start of the 20/21 season has been the right-back role as Hector Bellerin and Cedric Soares have been less than satisfactory in that position. However, there is a lot to be excited about for Arsenal fans because according to Moroccan outlet DM Sport, Arsenal are interested in signing Ajax right-back Noussair Mazraoui.

Could Noussair Mazraoui fix Arsenal’s right-back issue?

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Mikel Arteta is trying to build a far more fluid starting XI than what he ended the current season with. Players who are confined to certain roles are not an attractive proposition and Arteta needs every single player to perform more than 1 role in his starting lineup. 

Noussair Mazraoui, born and bred in Ajax, has featured in one of the most fluid teams in world football in the last five years. His versatility has helped Ajax approach games with different formations and styles. Mazraoui was also an integral part of Ajax’s glorious 2018/19 Champions League campaign when the club reached the semi-final of the tournament only to experience heartbreak against Tottenham Hotspur. 

Thus, Noussair Mazraoui is a proven talent, and Arsenal need such players in their ranks. For all of Arsenal’s quality, they do not have winners in their squad. Mazraoui can provide enough quality at the back while also provide the creativity Mikel Arteta needs from his full-backs. 

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Although Mazraoui has only provided a single assist this season, he is providing several goal-creating actions, which means that the Moroccan may not provide the assist for the goal but might play the pass that leads to the assist. Moreover, Mazraoui has averaged 1.5 key passes per 90 minutes this season. To put this into perspective, Hector Bellerin and Cedric Soares put up only a single assist between them this season. 

Mazraoui’s key feature, however, is his ability to go past players because of his technical ability on the ball. The 23-year-old is averaging 2 successful dribbles per 90 minutes, a number that will only increase over the years.

Additionally, Mazraoui has the knack of keeping the ball, while he also understands the right time to progress the ball up the field. Mikel Arteta needs players who are comfortable in possession while they should also be able to play the dangerous passes when necessary. This plays right up Mazraoui’s alley who is brilliant on and off the ball while he also ranked first for successful tackles in the Ajax team this season. Given that the Moroccan is an able runner, he is excellent at tracking back, while his last-ditch tackles are something close to perfection.

Arteta knows what he wants this summer, and Mazraoui will be a very clever signing should Arsenal managed to get this deal over the line.

When could Mazraoui sign for Arsenal?

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Noussair Mazraoui’s current contract expires at the end of next season, something Arsenal will know and will try to use as leverage in negotiations with Ajax. While Mazraoui was valued at nearly £30 million at the start of last season, Arsenal could sign the player for as little as £12 million this summer. There have been no talks of a contract extension between Mazraoui and the Dutch club which could lead to Ajax wanting to cash in on the player this summer.

Arsenal are targeting some clever deals this summer, and given Mazraoui’s talent, the Gunners will get the better part of the deal. With Arsenal also trying to seal a deal for Ajax keeper Andre Onana, they could complete a minor raid on the Dutch club soon. Mazraoui is keen to secure a deal this summer, and if Arsenal comes in with a good offer, the Moroccan could easily be a part of the Gunners’ pre-season in mid-July.

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