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Ivan Perisic or Yannick Carrasco: Who is the perfect winger to join Denis Suarez at Arsenal



Ahead of Thursday's transfer deadline, various Premier League clubs are scanning the market in a last ditch attempt to bring in squad reinforcements.

One of those clubs is Arsenal.

Denis Suarez's move to north London has been confirmed by Barcelona. He will fill in a gap in midfield for the Gunners. Next on Unai Emery's list is a winger to add a point of difference to their attack to stretch the way and get behind opponents.

The club understood to be in talks to bring Yannick Carrasco to the Emirates as an alternative to Ivan Perisic, but which player would be the best option for Unai Emery?

Let's compare the two based on a number of key areas.

Styles of play

Firstly, in terms of general styles of play, the two players are very similar. It's quite clear when focusing on the two options that emery desires for a specific profile – essentially a very wide and direct threat from the left with an intensity to their game.

In regard to Perisic, he is perhaps the most defensively stable option for the two, as he constantly works for his team with relentless endeavour.

The Croatian naturally provides width by hugging the touchline persistently, and once receiving the ball in offensive areas, he is inclined to engage in 1v1s.

Perisic prefers to stay wide when dribbling, by carrying the ball to the byline more often than before crossing, rather than cutting inside.

Arsenal transfer target Ivan Perisic celebrates scoring for Inter Milan.

Regarding Carrasco, he's essentially a slightly more unpredictable version of Perisic.

Carrasco's work rate is good, and he naturally tracks back to support his teammates instead of being a defensive liability.

Similar to Perisic, Carrasco is also a keen dribbler with a direct nature to attack his man in wide areas, but he's got more of a tendency to cut inside than the Inter Milan man.

Chance creation

In terms of offensive output, the two players offer almost identical returns.

Carrasco averages 0.26 goals for 90 minutes, compared to Perisic's 0.28, and the story is the same when focusing on shots on target, with 2.67 versus 2.78.

These are virtually inseparable numbers, and even more interestingly, both players are exactly the same Expected Goals for 90, with 0.24 each (for Wyscout).

Arsenal have been linked with Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco.

Perisic does not have more touches in the box though, as well as more crosses, and has a higher assist rate.

This basically indicates that Perisic has more to his game in an attacking capacity, with a variety that Carrasco either can not match yet, or has not been instructed to match.

In addition, Carrasco is much more likely to shoot from distance, with 134 shots in 7,467 minutes, scoring a measly five goals. That in comparison with Perisic, who had just 112 shots but in 4,000 more minutes than the Belgian.

Dribbling

In terms of dribbling, both are strong, but Carrasco is more enthusiastic by engaging in the double duels that Perisic does for 90.

Over the past four seasons, Carrasco has averaged just over ten dribbles for 90.

Yannick Carrasco has been linked with Arsenal.

This season he's averaging even higher with 12, but that's probably due to the standard of the Chinese league he competes in.

In addition to engaging his opponents a lot, Carrasco also has a strong success rate, completing 73%. These figures represent a highly capable dribbler and one that is difficult to dispossess.

In comparison, Perisic averages 5.5 dribbles for 90, with an incredible success rate of 81%.

To put that success rate into perspective, Lionel Messi's rate over the same period is 80.6%.

Ivan Perisic (Image: Emilio Andreoli / Getty Images)

This basically means that Perisic is significantly less likely to engage in a dribble than Carrasco, but when he does so, he's more likely to be successful.

This is perhaps an indicator of good decision making, with Perisic choosing his moments to dribble slightly more efficiently than the Belgian.

Tracking back

In terms of defensive output, both are again very good.

The work rate of a player is clearly an important feature of Emery, especially given his treatment of Mesut Ozil, and these two options firmly meet the criteria.

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery talks to Mesut Ozil during a training session at London Colney.

Both are disciplined, willing to track back and have played for defensive strategic clubs such as Inter Milan and Atletico, so the intensity without the ball comes naturally to them.

Given Perisic's added experience though, his development in a strategic league, and the fact he makes good decisions, it's reasonable to suggest he's the more defensively assured.

There is no doubt that Carrasco's defensive output is good enough, but his more unpredictable nature on the ball may occasionally be detrimental to his side in terms of conceding possession in bad areas.

Ivan Perisic vs. Yannick Carrasco

Overall, these two players are incredibly similar in terms of their playing style and their underlying numbers.

This is a positive reflection of Arsenal's recruitment team if anything, because Emery has identified a profile, and the scouting department has evidently been able to highlight two solid options.

Understat: Comparison of Carrasco and Perisic
Understat: Comparison of Carrasco and Perisic

Their similarity is demonstrated in the graph above (for Understat), based on the past four seasons but excluding the current campaign and the time Carrasco has spent in China.

Ultimately, both options would offer a level of productivity and would be beneficial for Arsenal, so it depends on what Emery wants.

Perisic is the most stable, reliable and complete player while Carrasco is more youthful, unpredictable and direct.

That the comparison between the two wingers is so close suggests that the Gunners have a clear idea of ​​what kind of player profile they are looking for before the deadline day.

It is Raul Sanllehi and his team, with two viable targets in their sights, to make sure they get a deal over the line before February.

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