A World Cup winner with Germany, Benedikt Howedes is a fine football-based example of the old saying “all that glitters is not gold” and Arsenal need to realise that sooner rather than later.
The Gunners have this week been linked with a £15m move for the 26-year-old defender, who currently plays for Schalke in Germany and is capable of playing at either full-back or centre-back when required.
Yet for all the hype surrounding Howedes as one of Die Mannschaft’s golden generation, his Bundesliga employer’s recent form should provide some cause for concern.
Howedes, deployed primarily as a left-back for the Royal Blues, was present and correct for last weekend’s shock 2-1 loss at the hands of newly-promoted Cologne and was part of the Schalke side that was hammered 5-0 at home by Chelsea – so far, so Arsenal.
In fact, the Gelsenkirchen side have only the sixth best defensive record in the German top-flight and qualified for the knockout phase of the Champions League after shipping 14 goals in six matches.
Part of the Germany team that triumphed at the World Cup, opposition teams constantly sought to exploit Howedes lack of pace with attacks down the right hand side.
And though the versatile defender has an excellent reputation for tackling and challenging in the air, his lack of pace means he is hardly much of an improvement on fellow countryman Per Mertesacker at Arsenal.
More importantly still, the 26-year-old may not be the right kind of fit for what the Gunners need – a mobile central defender – having played regularly for both club and country in a full-back role.
Deployed at centre-back for the national side in a recent friendly with Argentina and Howedes was undone time and again with the South Americans romping to a 4-2 win.
An undoubtedly talented player with a bright future, Howedes is simply the wrong fit for Arsenal and could yet prove to be a relatively expensive mistake for the Gunners.
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