Assessing Gianluca Scamacca and his suitability for Arsenal
Posted on June 08, 2022
One issue Arsenal didn't have last season was creating chances. An average of 11.5 key passes per game was the fourth most in the Premier League with the Gunners earned a statistically calculated WhoScored strength of 'creating scoring chances' as a result.
Rather, the problem was tucking these opportunities away. Bukayo Saka finished 2021/22 as Arsenal's top scorer in the Premier League, netting 11 times on their way to a fifth-placed finish. Eddie Nketiah was their top scoring forward with five goals to his name, but he scored in just three of his 21 league outings.
Nketiah is expected to put pen to paper on a new Arsenal deal before his contract expires at the end of the month, but with Alexandre Lacazette confirming he'll be leaving this summer, the north London side need to strengthen in the final third this summer. Gabriel Jesus is a target for Arsenal, though they do face stiff competition for his services from Tottenham and Real Madrid, both of whom can offer the Brazilian Champions League football next season.
Arsenal may be forced to alter their targets as a result, with the club expected to pursue other strikers in the window should their push for Jesus fail. Attention has seemingly turned to Serie A, with Gianluca Scamacca cropping up on their radar. The towering Italy international was linked with a January move to Spurs as backup for Harry Kane, though any move failed to come to fruition. Arsenal aren't the only side credited with an interest in Scamacca, with Scudetto winners AC Milan also monitoring the striker's situation.
Having struck 16 times for Sassuolo last season, there are high hopes for Scamacca at the Mapei Stadium and his good form was rewarded as he penned a new deal with the Italian side back in April. While that may have deterred potential suitors, rather teams continue to keep tabs on Scamacca as his reputation continues to grow.
Now tied down to Sassuolo until 2026, the Neroverdi can at least command a substantial fee for their main striker as and when they do elect to sell, be it this summer or further down the line. For Arsenal, he could well prove to be the ideal forward to lead the charge next season. The decision to rely on Lacazette and Nketiah as the only two strikers in the second half of the campaign came back to haunt Arsenal, who having looked set to return to the Champions League, lost two of their final three league games of 2021/22 to finish two points behind Spurs in the race to finish in the top four.
With Scamacca leading the charge, Arsenal would at least have a towering presence in the opposition box, and a player who certainly knows where the back of the net is. Indeed, of the 51 players to muster 50 or more shots in Serie A last season, Scamacca had the fourth best conversion rate (20.3%) and finished the campaign sixth for goals scored to reinforce a statistically calculated WhoScored strength of 'finishing'.
When factoring in just clear-cut oppotunities, Scamacca finished the campaign with a clear-cut conversion rate of 70.6%, that the seventh best of the 38 players to be presented with five or more big chances. This metric can often be skewed by players who are on penalties, but it's worth noting that just one of Scamacca's 16 goals came from the penalty spot. For an Arsenal side that finished the 2021/22 Premier League campaign with a clear-cut conversion rate of just 39.1%, that ranking 13th in the division, a striker as prolific as the Italian could be what the Gunners need.
A lack of assists could be perceived as a weakness on Scamacca's part, even with an average of one key pass per 90 in Serie A last season, but if anything for Arsenal, that should not be held against the striker. Arsenal need a frontman who can tuck chances away, and while aiding in the buildup is an added bonus, Scamacca's job is to put the ball in the back of the, which he does to a high standard.
That would see those in support perhaps score fewer goals, but if this is left to a forward of Scamacca's quality, then who is to complain? Arsenal have one of the most fluid attack lines in the Premier League, and at their age, there is plenty of time to grow as a unit. At 23 years of age, Scamacca has time on his side to develop accordingly and he'd have the chance to really thrive with such a young support cast.
Arsenal are expected to be big spenders in the market this summer, and with Sassuolo chief Giovanni Carneval recently confirming that talks over his future have been held, there is certainly a chance for Mikel Arteta's side to land Scamacca if they are match Sassuolo's demands for their prized forward.
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