West Ham midfielder Mohamed Diame has been a real star this season, dominating the West Ham midfield, he has gained widespread plaudits following his release from Wigan in the summer. The defensive midfielder has been so impressive that he has been linked with a move to Arsenal in recent weeks, with many seeing the Senegalese midfielder as the answer to Arsenal’s midfield problems. Some rumours are suggesting that Diame is available for as cheap as £3.5 million, meaning that he could be a real bargain if Arsenal move for him.
How good is Diame?
Below is a statistical comparison of Diame and some other defensive midfielders:
|Mins per tackles||Tackle success||Mins per possession won||Mins per possession lost||Mins per defensive error||Passes per game||Pass accuracy|
The comparison of Diame with other performers is interesting. He has the second highest tackle success rate after Ramires and is the most frequent tackler out of the players included. What is interesting however is how frequently Diame gives away the ball, losing possession every 35 minutes. It is here where we can question whether he is an Arsenal style player. Furthermore his low number of passes per game, just 24.9, suggesting that he might not be suited for an Arsenal midfield that enjoy so much possession. The change in style, if he does move to Arsenal would certainly be quite drastic.
However, one could put this down to the tactical style utilized by West Ham. With such a high number of long passes the midfield is arguably by-passed, meaning that Diame does a lot of his work off the ball. Undoubtedly he would offer a slight different dimension to the Arsenal midfield.
Where will he fit in?
At such a low price it certainly would not be a bad signing, regardless of how successful he is. £3.5 million is not a lot of money at all in the current climate. Diame would, as noted, offer a different dimension to Arsenal. But, one could argue that Arteta already plays the role of midfield anchor. Currently Wilshire, Arteta and Cazorla are the primary midfield three.
It is difficult to see who would get dropped out of these three. Arteta has probably been the most consistent performer for Arsenal for some time now. What we might witness is Arteta being pushed further up the pitch when Diame is playing. This could see Arsenal fans see a new side to Arteta, as he is a goal threat and equally adept at operating as a more advanced play-maker as well as a deep lying one. At Everton for example he was often deployed on the left hand side of midfield as an attacking outlet. Alternatively he could rotate with Cazorla for the most attacking slot.
Obviously now in a squad game, Arsenal could certainly use more numbers. Diaby is incredibly injury prone and Diame could offer ample cover for him and offer a more compact, aggressive option in centre midfield. Diame is certainly a strong, physical presence who differs to the more subtle and nuanced midfield approach offered by Arteta in the deep role.
Diame isn’t going to cure all of Arsenal’s midfield issue, but he’d certainly be a decent acquisition, especially if he arrives for as cheap as some papers are suggesting. The Senegalese midfielder can offer ample cover to the Arsenal midfield, as well as offering a much more physical option than Ramsay or Arteta. With Diaby so injury prone it would also make sense to have him around. His tackling credentials cannot be disputed, but one concern may be whether he has the technical quality to fit into a very fluid, ball playing, Arsenal side. His passing stats suggest perhaps not, as does the frequency with which he loses possession. Although, that may be a result of the tactics implemented at West Ham. Given his aforementioned physicality, he may well be a player that Arsenal fans hope to see at the Emirates in the next fortnight.