The stats that show why Kounde would be a fine Arsenal signing

Robin Bairner
The stats that show why Kounde would be a fine Arsenal signing

Arsenal have long been on a quest to improve their defensive solidity, with Sevilla’s Jules Kounde the latest name reportedly on their shopping list.

A young French defender, Kounde has caught the eye of many clubs around Europe. Manchester United are interested in him, while he can count Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid as other suitors.

READ MORE: Who is Jules Kounde? The Sevilla star who is wanted by Man Utd and Arsenal

How does he compare, though, with other players already in the Gunners ranks, and how much of an upgrade might he be given that Arsenal would likely have to invest £50 million in his services?

Jules Kounde’s 2020/21 statistics

CATEGORYJULES KOUNDE
Appearances43
Goals4
Fouls committed P900.72
Fouls won P900.61
Pass Completion91%
Lost balls in own half P900.91
Recoveries P907
Challenges won65%
Aerial duels won64%
Tackles won73%
Interceptions P905.4
Free ball pick ups P904.7

Arsenal’s capacity to shoot themselves in the foot has been legendary for many years and that remains the case this season.

Kounde offers greater solidarity in possession than any of their current players. He boasts a pass percentage of 91% in all competitions this season. In context, none of the Gunners’ four main centre-backs, David Luiz, Gabriel, Pablo Mari or Rob Holding, offers a figure in the 90s.

Furthermore, in terms of lost balls in his own half, Kounde is down at 0.91. That figure is less than half that of Gabriel and far better than any centre-back in Mikel Arteta’s ranks currently.

Jules Kounde celebrates winning the 2020 Europa League title

Jules Kounde celebrates winning the 2020 Europa League title

So if he is assured off the ball, how is he defensively? It is notable that he does not give up many fouls. Committing just 0.72 per game on average, he suffers 0.61, meaning there is very little net loss.

Only Gabriel can better him in this regard. The Brazilian actually wins more fouls than he concedes, yet he does give away 1.31 free kicks per game – a figure that invites pressure on his team-mates.

Where Kounde is slightly lacking in comparison to Arsenal’s current crop, is in duels. He wins 65% of his challenges – a figure better only than Holding – while the 64% of his aerial duels he wins is below both David Luiz and Gabriel. Kounda’s tackle success of 73%, meanwhile, is far better than Gabriel and Holding but worse than David Luiz and Mari.

Experience

Kounde may only be 22, but he has plenty of experience at the top level to draw upon. He already has close to 150 appearances in professional football under his belt, plus he has turned out for France’s Under-21 side. Indeed, he has been touted as a potential full international.

He already has pedigree, too. A Europa League winner in 2019/20 with Sevilla, his performances were so impressive that he was named in the Europa League Squad of the Season by UEFA.

Kounde may not have the wealth of experience of a figure such as David Luiz, but the quality of experience that he has enjoyed in his short career to date is impressive.

What would Kounde bring to Arsenal?

Kounde is a solid all-round defender who could comfortably slot in to replace either David Luiz or Gabriel in the Arsenal defence.

While the Gunners might lose out in terms of a little physicality, they would enjoy more assurance in possession and the errors that have in the past plagued them should be significantly reduced.

At 22, Kounde offers the profile of a player who is only going to improve, and it is little wonder that there is set to be such a scramble for his services. Arsenal should make sure they get there first.