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Luiz Gustavo: A Statistical Review of Arsenal’s Transfer Target

With Arsenal linked with a move for Luiz Gustavo in today’s papers, here’s a statistical look at what the player could offer if he makes a move to the Emirates.

With Arsenal linked with a move for Bayern Munich midfielder Luiz Gustavo in today’s newspapers, blogger Gooner Daily gives us a statistical look at what the player could offer if he makes a move to the Emirates.

Luis Gustavo

Photo: Getty Images

While Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez were the regular first choice pairing in Bayern Munich’s midfield last season, there were times when the manager summoned the services of Luiz Gustavo, the Brazilian powerhouse with a style of play that reminds me of ex-Gunner, Gilberto Silva.

In simple terms, Luiz Gustavo is the type of player that does his “dirty work” in a very clean way and his tenacious style of play in Bayern’s midfield caught the eye last season.

The Brazilian was signed from Hoffenhiem in the winter transfer window of 2011 and he featured regularly in his first full season for the Bavarian outfit in the 2011/12 campaign (46 apps) but the big-money acquisition of Javi Martinez from Athletic Bilbao ensured that his game time diminished, as Schweinsteiger was a vital cog in the midfield engine.

Despite not being a regular in Heynckes’ first-team sheet, Luiz Gustavo’s versatility made him a valuable asset for Bayern Munich last season, as he also provided cover as a center back and a left back when the need arose. After a successful 2012/13 campaign with Bayern Munich, Luiz Gustavo was called up by Felipao in this summer’s FIFA Confederations Cup and he was an integral part of the Samba Boys squad that won the tournament in grand style following some inspired performances from Julio Cesar, Neymar and Fred.

With some assistance from stats kings like Who Scored and Squakwa, the table below shows the key performance metrics for Luiz Gustavo in the Bundesliga, UEFA Champions League and 2013 Confederations Cup.



Champions League

Confed. Cup

Appearances (Subs)

16 (6)

3 (7)

5 (0)

Goals Scored




Overall shots (Shots per Game)

13 (0.6)

9 (0.9)

2 (0.4)

Bookings (Yellow / Red)

6 / 0

2 / 0

2 / 0

Total Tackles (Tackles per Game)

54 (2.5)

15 (1.5)

10 (2)

Total Interceptions (Interceptions per Game)

33 (1.5)

13 (1.3)

15 (3)

Total Fouls Committed (Fouls per Game)

37 (1.7)

10 (1)

14 (2.8)

Aerial Duels (Attempted/Won)

36 / 16

12 / 6

6 / 5

Total Passes (Accurate Passes)

940 (874)

205 (183)

233 (214)

Pass Completion %




Total Long Balls (Accurate)

97 (82)

26 (25)

22 (20)

Total Through Balls (Accurate)

3 (2)

3 (2)



For a player that wasn’t a key part of Bayern Munich’s squad last season, Luiz Gustavo’s stats are jaw dropping to say the least. In the 2012/13 Bundesliga campaign, he amassed just 26 appearances but he managed to rake up an impressive pass completion percentage of 93 percent. He also notched up a decent amount of tackles and interceptions in each game he played and as expected from a tenacious holding midfielder like him, he had his fair share of fouls committed and bookings.

With a frame of 6′ 2″, Luiz Gustavo was also involved in some aerial battles in the middle of the park and he had close to a 50 percent success rate in the Bundesliga and Champions League but in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, Luiz Gustavo basically won every header he attempted which showed how he used his height to great effect for his nation.

With Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez clearly above the Brazilian in the pecking order, his cause wasn’t helped when Pep Guardiola successfully acquired the services of Thiago Alcantara from Barcelona, a player he managed in his Barcelona B days.

Unlike Heynckes that successfully utilized the 4-2-3-1 tactical setup with Schweinsteiger and Martinez in the double pivot, Guardiola is adopting his traditional 4-3-3 formation that worked wonders for him in his Barcelona trophy hauling days. Martinez will assume the deep-lying playmaker role that was successfully manned by Sergi Busquets, Schweinsteiger / Thiago would assume the Xavi Hernandez role while the mercurial Mario Gotze, on his return from injury, would be at the tip of the midfield triumvirate (Andres Iniesta’s role).

This clearly indicates that Luiz Gustavo would be surplus to requirements and according to the Daily Mail, Arsenal is about to table a £14m bid for the Brazilian after Arsene Wenger admitted that his squad is thin-bare and he wanted new reinforcements.

Unlike in Bayern Munich where Luiz Gustavo’s chances of featuring now hangs on a thin thread, it would be a different case at Arsenal but in all honesty, I don’t expect Luiz Gustavo to walk into the Arsenal first-team setup. If he arrives at the Emirates, he would be that strong enforcer in midfield the fans have been craving for since Alex Song, but Arsenal has two players that have blossomed in the holding midfield roles.

Following the departure of Song to Barcelona, Mikel Arteta assumed the role of Arsenal’s holding midfielder, curbing his attacking instincts to take one for the team and Arsenal fans can attest that he was a revelation last season. After playing as a jack-of-all-trades, Arsene Wenger finally gave Aaron Ramsey a chance to strut his stuff in central midfield and his energy and work rate aided his team’s surge to a fourth place finish in the last campaign.

I’m going to juxtapose between Luiz Gustavo’s key performance metrics and Arsenal’s personnel in the successful double midfield pivot of last season, Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta. I’ll also cull some stats from Who Scored for both players.

According to Who Scored, listed below are Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta’s stats in the Premier League last season.


Mikel Arteta

Aaron Ramsey

Appearances (Subs)

34 (0)

21 (15)

Goals Scored






Overall shots (Shots per Game)

19 (0.6)

46 (1.3)

Bookings (Yellow / Red)

6 / 0

5 / 0

Total Tackles (Tackles per Game)

108 (3.2)

71 (2)

Total Interceptions (Interceptions per Game)

97 (2.7)

44 (1.2)

Total Fouls Committed (Fouls per Game)

74 (2.2)

48 (1.3)

Aerial Duels (Attempted/Won)

67 / 35

37 / 14

Total Passes (Accurate Passes)

2750 (2517)

1934 (1705)

Pass Completion %



Total Long Balls (Accurate)

205 (179)

139 (103)

Total Through Balls (Accurate)

15 (6)

21 (11)

Unlike Luiz Gustavo that plays like a traditional water carrier in holding midfield, Arteta and Ramsey are very comfortable with the ball on their feet and it’s also worth noting that Arteta total passes (2,750) were almost three times Luiz Gustavo’s (940) despite playing in the same role with the Brazilian.

In Gustavo’s defense, Arteta played more games than the Brazilian with age slowly creeping in on the Lego-haired Spaniard, Gustavo can come into the club and he would definitely be touted as Arteta’s long-term successor. At the age of 26, Luiz Gustavo’s best years are well ahead of him unlike Arteta that probably has two or so years left in him before he decides to end his playing days in his native Spain or maybe the MLS to earn some big bucks.

Even if everybody is firmly focused on Luis Suarez and his transfer shenanigans, Arsenal’s pursuit of Luiz Gustavo is a stroke of genius by Arsene Wenger.

This post was originally published on Gooner Daily – you can check out their Facebook page here.



  1. Abu Rahman

    August 12, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Now that’s a good analysis. I can confidently say in my opinion that he is far better than Kondogbia plus his international experience with the Samba Boyz. Go wenger ! Sign him up now before Ben*****tez wrecks the ship again!

  2. Uzoma timothy

    August 12, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    This stastistics are superb but arteta has clearly shown on number of ocassions that he is not a natural a holding midfielder exemplified by his performance against fulham at the emirates last season..he lacks energy and lacks closing on counter attacks just like song that gives up away the ball so easily with lack of intelligent positioning..why not consider lars bender..He is a world-class

  3. Abu Rahman

    August 12, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    With due respect to Arteta, he’s done his bit in that department (DM that is). That doesn’t take anything away from him as he was converted to such by Le Prof. I don’t think we can get Bender at this time of the transfer window unlike Gustavo who is surplus to requirements at B.Munich the former is akeu member of his team and nobody likes loosing any of his best players without a proper and timely replacement. I even pray and hope Gustavo’s deal gets done on time.

  4. sadiq garamba

    August 12, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    i hope wenger should quickly wrap up this better dm available in d market. Try and wrap up a deal. Gustavo is such a gud player dat tackles wel passes d ball accurately and has physical presence in the midfield.another gilberto but is more agressive.bring suarez gustavo nani williams and cesar and bet me wt wenger’s experience we wil win d league

  5. Arsenal1Again

    August 12, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Why not Fellaini who has Prem experience and doesn’t require a setting period?

    • Ronald sangh

      August 13, 2013 at 6:50 am

      Fellaini is not Dmf that we desperatly needed.

  6. Ronald sangh

    August 13, 2013 at 6:46 am

    Its a genuis move by prof. Wenger
    if he will manage to get Gustavo, suarez and a centa back. Arsenal will be title contenders believe u me ,

  7. Johoshephat

    August 13, 2013 at 11:27 am

    If the two Guastavo & Suarez comes to emirates no doubt silver is there this season.

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