Arsenal seem to be close to signing Paris Saint-Germain defender Layvin Kurzawa in the ongoing January transfer window. The left-back is reportedly in advanced talks to join the Emirates Stadium-based side this month, as the Gunners look to add depth to their defensive line. But it might not be as good a deal as many fans would portray it to be.
The club currently has summer signing Kieran Tierney out due to a shoulder injury. Another left-back option in Sead Kolasinac has missed 13 games due to injury since joining and that isn’t exactly a promising sign either. Because of all that, new Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is often having to use Bukayo Saka as the left-back, with the youngster having played at left-back on six occasions so far.
That makes the Kurzawa chase stranger than ever. The Frenchman isn’t the fittest player in the Parisiens squad either and his injury issues have seen Juan Bernat become a regular in that position. Kurzawa has missed 21 games due to injury since last season, with a herniated disc injury last season stopping his growth and allowing Bernat to come in.
It was perhaps with fears of Kurzawa fading away and losing his pace that PSG brought Bernat in from Bayern Munich. The 27-year-old has made only six starts in Ligue 1 this season, appearing five times on the bench. In the Champions League, he has made just a single appearance. It shows that he indeed has fallen off from what he used to be.
He doesn’t have the pace that he once had. This season, he has completed only 0.6 dribbles per game. Those numbers stood at 0.6 last season too, while being at 0.9 in the 2017-18 season. In his first two seasons, they stood at 1.6 and 1.5– a show of how his productivity going forward has come down.
Since scoring thrice and assisting once in the 2015-16 season, that output has come down too. In his last two seasons at Monaco, Kurzawa had a hand in 12 goals and that is good enough for full-backs. But his last three seasons have yielded ten goal contributions only.
This season, he has made only 0.2 tackles 90– the lowest of his career. The tally of 0.5 last season is currently the second-lowest one too. That sort of career progression isn’t exactly a positive sign for any club, let alone Arsenal. They want to be looking up under Arteta and move away from stop-gap signings that the likes of Sokratis and David Luiz could represent.
Kurzawa is currently 27 and facing these problems at this age is concerning for any player. The injuries have taken a toll and while he was a highly-regarded player back in around 2016, but things haven’t gone to plan. As much as it is sad to see, one aspect does make it a believable deal for Arsenal.
That is the fact that he is a bargain signing. He doesn’t cost much and with the club already having three options at left-back, he will only be a back-up. He has some vital experience of playing at the top level and can do a job in crucial circumstances.
But Arsenal have seen this happen before with defensive players over the last few years. They might just be adding a player to the squad for the sake of it, as the season wears on. They need to be careful and aware that he isn’t as good as he used to be.