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Manchester United or Arsenal: Who’s Done the Better Business?

Thu 17th Nov 2016 | Football Club Management

As Arsenal prepare to make the long journey north to face Manchester United, when the Premier League reconvenes on 19th November, it’s time to assess which team’s transfers have had the biggest impact so far.

Here’s a look at the two main signings at each club.

The Gunners spent just shy of £90million in the summer transfer window and signed Granit Xhaka (£34million), Shkodran Mustafi (£35million), Lucas Perez (£17.1million), Rob Holding (£2million), and Takuma Asano (undisclosed).   

United spent a little over £145million and brought in four players; Zlatan Ibrahimović (free), Eric Bailly (£30million), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (26.3million), and Paul Pogba (89million).

There is no doubt that it is Manchester United that made the box office signings, and one of the main reasons that a lot of neutrals will buy Arsenal vs Manchester United tickets  is to see Pogba and Ibrahimović - supposedly two of the world’s best players - in action.

But up to this point, these marquee acquisitions have failed to make the massive impact that many had predicted. In addition to that, the former Paris Saint-Germain star will miss the home tie against Arsenal through suspension.

Although Ibrahimović commands wages said to be worth £220,000 a week, getting the 2015-16 Ligue 1 top scorer for free was a shrewd bit of business. The big Swede has scored 6 goals in the league and made 1 assist, but Jose Mourinho will have hoped for a higher output than that from the man that scored 38 goals in the French top flight last season.

The 34-year-old is getting the chances, though, and is firing off a shot on goal every 17.7 minutes - a faster rate than any other player in the league. This suggests that Ibrahimović could be about to explode and return good value on his free transfer.

Last season at Juventus, Pogba scored 8 goals and made 12 assists. In this campaign the Euro 2016 finalist has only mustered 2 goals and 0 assists in 10 league starts.

His shot accuracy (21.2%) and the fact that he is only creating a chance every 49.9 minutes is simply not good enough for a player of his price. So far the former Juventus man has proven to be terrible value for money.

It could be argued that Arsenal’s two major signings have made a bigger impact. Mustafi has played 8 matches, kept 3 clean sheets, and only conceded 6 goals.

He has contributed to the Gunners having the fourth tightest defense in the league, behind Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, and Manchester City.

The former Valencia man has won 65.2% of his tackles and 63.2% of his aerial duels and is gradually becoming more accustomed to England’s top flight.

At 24 years old, the German could be an integral part of the Arsenal defense for many years to come. It does, to be fair, look like an excellent bit of business by Arsene Wenger.

Up to this stage, Xhaka has only started 5 league games. And in that time managed to pick up a red card and a three match ban for his cynical foul on Mo Barrow (see above) in the Gunners’ win over Swansea.

When the Swiss midfielder has played, however, he has looked like a player who could become a core member of this Arsenal side. His pass completion rate of 88.2% and his six chances created via through balls is highly promising.

As it stands, Arsenal are in a much better position than United, and it looks as though Wenger’s deals in the transfer market have been more successful.

But which stars will come out on top in the crunch tie between the two sides?

That remains to be seen when they meet at Old Trafford. 

Posted by: Aaron Gourley 

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