Arsenal transfer targets: Could Benjamin Sesko fill Gunners’ striker hole?

Arsenal are reportedly holding talks with the agent of RB Leipzig striker Benjamin Sesko.

According to reports, the Gunners are in the market for a new striker this summer. Although they scored 91 goals in the Premier League last season, second only to Manchester City’s 96, the feeling is that Arsenal have been missing a serious goal threat.

Much like Man City and Erling Haaland, a proper striker could be the only thing between this Arsenal team and greatness. Of course, Man City were winning things before Haaland, but he was the final piece in their Champions League puzzle.

Bukayo Saka was Arsenal’s top scorer in the Premier League in 2023/24, netting 16 goals in 35 games. The Gunners had three players to have scored more than 10 goals, with Kai Havertz (13) and Leandro Trossard (12) joining Saka on double digits.

Gabriel Jesus suffered with injuries and then being out of favour, scoring four goals at an average of 0.24 per 90 minutes in the Premier League. It was hoped that he would solve their centre-forward problems when signing in the summer of 2022.

Arsenal have been linked to the likes of Alexander Isak and Ivan Toney for two players with Premier League experience. But the latest reports have them joining Chelsea in the race for Sesko.

The 21-year-old Slovenian striker has followed Haaland’s path in moving from Red Bull Salzburg to the Bundesliga. However, Sesko’s path has kept him in the family, joining RB Leipzig.

Sesko scored 29 goals in 79 games for Red Bull Salzburg, but had a better record in his maiden Leipzig campaign. The 21-year-old needed 18 goals in 42 matches across all competitions, with 14 of those coming in the Bundesliga.

Quick maths means that only Saka scored more league goals than Sesko among Arsenal’s players. But Sesko’s record gets more impressive the deeper you look.

The 21-year-old’s 14 league goals came in 1,528 minutes as he only became a regular starter in the second half of the campaign. That translated to an average of 0.82 goals per 90 minutes, the third-best return in the Bundesliga among players with a minimum of 1,000 minutes played. The only players with a better goalscoring average were Harry Kane and Serhou Guirassy, both averaging 1.14 goals per 90. Trossard had Arsenal’s best goals per 90 return among players with 1,000 minutes played, at 0.66.

Sesko averaged 2,77 shots per 90 minutes and 1.47 on target, the latter more than any Arsenal player. His shooting accuracy was also an impressive 53.19%, and he scored seven of his 15 big chances.

Sesko also scored his 14 goals from an xG of just 7.66 and an xG on target of 8.38. So that’s an over-performance of almost double on his xG. Only Guirassy (+7.15) out-performed his xG more than Sesko’s +6.34 improvement.

And he’s an aerial threat too. Sesko scored five headed goals in the Bundesliga, which would only boost Arsenal’s own threat. The Gunners scored 17 headed goals in the Premier League, more than any other team in the 2023/24 season. Only Bayern Munich (19) and Fiorentina (18) scored more across Europe’s top five leagues.

Sesko’s focus will currently be on Euro 2024 with Slovenia, and a good performance there might boost the interest in the 21-year-old.

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