Arsenal have consistently been linked with a move for Lyon creator Houssem Aouar in recent months.
The Frenchman was deemed too expensive by the Gunners in the summer, who instead signed Thomas Partey on deadline day.
Partey is a press-resistant holding player who can both break up opponent’s attacks and instigate his own. But he does not solve the creative void at the heart of the midfield, an issue that Mikel Arteta himself admitted his team is suffering from.
“What is certain is that with these numbers, scoring this amount of goals, it is impossible to be fighting with the top teams,” he said after a particularly disastrous 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa earlier this season.
Creativity is needed, then, and Aouar was previously deemed the man to provide it.
Click to play
Tap to play
The video will auto-play soon8Cancel
But with the Lyon midfielder seemingly ruling out a move in January as he addressed talk of an exit, are there others who could provide a similar impact in central midfield?
We delved into the statistics, all via FBREF, to highlight several Premier League stars Arsenal could consider should a move for Aouar never materialise.
If it is creativity that Arsenal are after, and they certainly should be, they need look no further than Leicester City’s James Maddison.
Long linked with a move to Manchester United, Maddison, who would be difficult to prise away from the King Power Stadium, is a supreme facilitator of attacks. Over the last two complete Premier League seasons, he has 14.5 expected assists. Only four players had a higher expected assists than Maddison last season.
After undergoing hip surgery late last season, Maddison has fallen out of the public eye this year. But that does not make his figures any less impressive.
He has averaged 0.13 expected assists per 90 minutes. He has created…