Arsenal’s journey under Mikel Arteta has had its ups and downs, threatening to overshadow the years of success under the legendary Arsene Wenger.
Following Unai Emery’s unsuccessful tenure after Wenger’s retirement, the club put their faith in Arteta’s youth-oriented approach.
While Arteta’s recent term has shown promise and yielded some rewards, Arsenal is still far from achieving their ultimate goal of dethroning Manchester City and reclaiming the Premier League title.
To accomplish this feat, the club’s sporting director, Edu, will need to make significant investments during the upcoming summer transfer window.
Strengthening the starting XI and adding depth will be crucial for Arsenal to compete with top clubs in Europe.
To invoke the success of past eras, Edu could consider replicating key stars from Arsenal’s glorious history.
Fortunately, the availability of Orkun Kokcu for a reported fee of €40m (£35m) presents an opportunity to recreate the impact of Cesc Fabregas during his early days at the club.
Before becoming a metronomic presence at Barcelona and Chelsea, Fabregas was an all-action box-to-box midfielder who contributed both goals and assists from deep positions.
In his first full season in the Arsenal first team, the Spanish midfielder recorded 11 goal contributions, a figure that increased to 17 the following year.
However, the pinnacle of Fabregas’ impact arguably came during the 2009/10 season when he scored 15 goals and provided 15 assists in the Premier League alone, accumulating a remarkable total of 38 goal contributions across all competitions.
It comes as no surprise that Wenger praised Fabregas, stating, “I have seen a lot of young players start in the game, and he is one of the best I have ever seen.” Fabregas showcased his ability to create goals, set up pivotal moments, and contribute to the team’s success.
In Kokcu, Arsenal could potentially find another young goalscoring midfielder who has showcased his offensive prowess by leading Feyenoord to an unlikely title triumph in the Dutch league. At just 22 years old, Kokcu has scored 12 goals and provided five assists this season. His performances have earned him high praise, with former Juventus star Mohamed Sissoko labeling him as “the best in his league,” underscoring his pedigree reminiscent of Wenger’s earlier appraisal of Fabregas.
Kokcu’s playing style mirrors Fabregas’ all-action approach, evident in his impressive statistics. When compared to other midfielders in Europe, Kokcu ranks in the top 3% for progressive carries per 90 minutes and the top 1% for shot-creating actions per 90 minutes, according to data from FBref.
Analysts have drawn parallels between Kokcu and Fabregas, with Nick Gada noting during the early stages of the Turkish player’s career, “Can see why Arteta is after Orkun Kokcu. His passing ability for a 19-year-old is unreal. A lot of similarities to a Fabregas/Cazorla.”
By acquiring this dynamic Turkish talent, Edu could provide Arteta with additional attacking prowess to compensate for the impending departure of Granit Xhaka.
Moreover, it would allow the 41-year-old head coach to mold Kokcu further in the image of his legendary compatriot, Fabregas.