Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City are all interested in signing Sevilla midfielder Steven N’Zonzi this transfer window, according to reports.
All three Premier League giants are looking to strengthen their midfield with N’Zonzi on each of their radars according to The Express, with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City reportedly opening talks over a potential deal and moving ahead of interested parties.
The Frenchman has previous Premier League experience which will appeal to the three clubs, two spells in England with Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City, but he left the Potters in 2015 for Spanish side Sevilla where he has found tremendous form.
The former Stoke City man has reportedly rejected a new contract meaning the club will look to offload him this January, with them pricing their man at around £25 million.
N’Zonzi has been impressive in both La Liga and the Champions League this season, helping his side to second in the league table thus far.
The Gunners are interested in the 28-year-old as they look to get cover for the injured Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin, leaving them significantly short in midfield with Mohamed Elneny out of action due to international commitments.
Antonio Conte is also interested in bringing him to Stamford Bridge as they look for that extra boost to push them on for the title.
It seems N’Zonzi is keen on a return to England and will reportedly demand around £90,000-a-week if he was to return to the Premier League.
We take a look at if N’Zonzi is needed at each of the mentioned clubs.
New season, but the same Arsenal injury crisis. The Gunners are now down to just two central midfielders with both Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey being the only natural fit CM’s. There will be a worry of overplaying both in the hectic Premier League fixtures in the coming weeks with the latter being a concern due to his hamstring injury troubles which has kept him out of numerous weeks already this season.
When all personnel are fit for the Gunners, they are packed in central areas, but with the latest setback they may now have to dip into the market. Although N’Zonzi is not a guaranteed starter in the starting XI with the Gunners already having many gifted midfielders in their ranks. But, he will certainly bring stability/physicality in the middle for the short term.
The Gunners may dip into the market before another injury occurs, which will then certainly be a crisis. Arsene Wenger will be attracted to N’Zonzi’s previous Premier League experience, meaning he will not need too much time to adjust to the league.
This is probably the most surprising link, Chelsea seems very steady in the central area and have found a winning formula with the correct personnel. N’golo Kante and Nemanja Matic have been superb since Antonio Conte transforming to a 3-4-3 formation with Cesc Fabregas itching to make an impact from the bench and doing so superbly.
How things stand I think they’ll be happy with the depth in midfield, and he is certainly not a priority as they target an attacking player to fire them to the Premier League title. If Cesc were to leave however, that may change.
For me, this is N’Zonzi’s most likely destination. Pep Guardiola will certainly be in the market after a mediocre opening half to the season, and with the injury to Ilkay Gundogan, the club will certainly be looking for a new central midfielder.
Fernandinho has been sent off numerous times for City thus far this season and has been proven to be a liability in his disciplinary, Yaya Toure is ageing and will struggle to play continuous games with Fernando not being the level of player Guardiola will want to start regularly.
N’Zonzi would be an immense signing for Manchester City. The Frenchman is calm and composed in central midfield, he’s very physical in his play and has high stamina levels throughout the 90 minutes whilst offering quality at both ends of the pitch.
Stats behind his game this season
The Sevilla man has played 15 games this season and has been influential for them thus far. Deploying the central area in midfield, he takes on many different tasks during the game, he has been immense in both offensive and defensive transitions which is backed up with the 28-year-old winning 1.20 tackles per 90 minutes and creating 0.47 chances too.
Another trait which will impress all interested teams is his positive/efficient play whilst in possession. N’Zonzi has thus far managed 49 forward passes per 90 minutes which is considerably more than his backwards passes, whilst showing his composure in possession managing an 89% pass completion this season.
Standing at 6 ft 3, it is not surprising he is a dominant force in the air, and that is backed up with the midfielder currently winning 75% of his aerial duels this season, which will certainly appeal to all three interested clubs, especially with the physicality of the league.
The attack can often rely on runners from midfield, and N’Zonzi certainly possesses a strong glide from deep into offensive areas. His ability to take long strides has been a useful weapon with him so far managing to be successful with 70.59% of his take ons.
It feels inevitable that N’Zonzi returns to England this month, and putting all things into perspective you would suggest he is Manchester City bound to boost Pep Guardiola’s squad ahead of an intense battle for the top four.