Deadline Day for Arsenal was dominated by the massive coup of Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid. However, he was not the only signing that Arsenal made.
Completely overshadowed by the Ghanaian, the Gunners also confirmed the signings of Joel Ideho & Nikolaj Moller.
The latter is of great interest. Moller provides additional offensive support to Steve Bould’s under-23 squad. Tyreece John-Jules is currently on loan with Doncaster, whilst Folarin Balogun is reportedly keen to leave the Gunners. Moller shows foresight on the part of the club, in case of the latter’s departure in the near future.
Where does he play?
101 Great Goals was fortunate to speak with current F.C. Copenhagen under-19s assistant coach Robin Asterhed. Asterhed worked with Moller for 2 years whilst a coach at Malmo FF, and has known the Swedish striker for 6 years.
101 asked about Moller’s positioning, and how he might fit into Steve Bould’s system in the Arsenal academy:
“I would say Nikolaj would fit really good into a 3-4-3 system as a classical number 9. He can also play as one of two strikers in a 4-4-2 system. He can play play as the target man and as the one who runs in behind.”
Initially, when looking at Moller, and hearing Asterhed’s early assessment, one may be reminded of Olivier Giroud. However, the youngster’s former coach believes that he in fact resembles a very different ex-Gunners forward:
“Comparing to former Arsenal players, I would say maybe Kanu is the closest one. On the pitch Niko is a really technical player.”
What is his style?
Arsenal have lacked a target man-style forward since the departure of Olivier Giroud. Alexandre Lacazette can of course provide a physical presence, and drop in when needs must. The Frenchman, however, does not possess the physical stature of a Giroud, or Moller for that matter, to make him a significant threat in the air.
John-Jules and Balogun also differ from Moller in this regard, so the attacker may have found a niche in the Arsenal academy. Moller has been compared to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and even nicknamed after the famous striker.
With regards to how the new Arsenal man plays, Asterhed explained: “He can handle the hard pass, the bouncy pass, the high pass and he can bring that in and he can control that for the team.”
“He can flick in behind, he can combine and he has a really good one touch. He also has the dribbling abilities but more and more the last year he has been less and less dribbling.”
Does his height affect his play?
Often with tall forwards, whilst good in the air, their mobility can prove a weakness. Peter Crouch, Marc Janko and Andy Carroll all spring to mind.
However, this does not appear not to be the case for Moller, at least according to Asterhed:
“As you of course all know his physical presence. He is a huge player. 194cm, 90kg and for this size he is really mobile.”
“He can run in behind, he is quick in the first meters and makes quite well-timed runs.”
Sounds better by the second! However, everything cannot be perfect.
What does he need to work on?
Every young player, whilst promising, has their flaws. Typically, still being raw at 18 years of age is not uncommon. It is the job of coaches like Asterhed himself to aid in emphasising the strengths of young talents. Minimising, or potentially removing weaknesses altogether, is also key.
“The biggest potential weakness is that he be too involved,” Asterhed remarked.
When it comes to how Moller could improve on this, Asterhed continued: “Instead he should tactically know how can I create space? How can I go away from the ball to get a better position? And to create more finishing chances.”
“He can hit the ball really hard and really precise but maybe he comes to too few finishing situations to be a really successful number 9.”
Moving to Arsenal, the great work of Moller’s previous coaches, including Asterhed, will no doubt be built upon. Arsenal will aim to improve the Swede, and nullify weaknesses in his game.
Thank you to Robin Asterhed for taking the time to provide us with this in-depth analysis of Nikolaj Moller.
This article was edited by Conor Laird.
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