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Silly Season Scouting: Is Mickaël Cuisance the Kind of Player Arsenal Should Be After?


I actually started another scouting report, no more than a week after my last dive into Suat Serdar. At the time, Arsenal had jumped ship and looked to bring in €350m, simply by abandoning the premier league. But alas, we’re not looking to finance a deal for Paulo Dybala, so I thought it best to scrap that thought.

In the meantime, though, Real Madrid has used a lot of effort to flex their synthol enhanced muscles, in a vain attempt to keep the price of Ødegaard as high as possible.

Most of those who follow Swiss Rambles excellent financial takes, are quite aware that Real Madrid doesn’t have the necessary money to afford a set stance, but let’s entertain the idea they decide not to sell somewhat cheap as they try to keep their ship a float.

Arsenal would need some alternatives – and while Julian Brandt is being looked at (like he is annually), I’d like to offer another option, who could come at a much cheaper price, if Arsenal acted fast.

Monthly Silly Scouting – This month – Mickaël Cuisance:


It came to many supporter’s surprise when a story leaked that Arteta and Edu were laying the groundwork for a loan deal for Norwegian boy wonder Ødegaard.

While he’s been doing well, I, for one, dismissed him as another one of those Real Madrid deals, where they yank a promising youngster away from their home, and build him as a future star, before throwing him in the back of the closet when he doesn’t become an instant starter.

And while Ødegaard most certainly has done very well for Arsenal, his heavy price tag could be a hindrance in regaining him for next season.

Furthermore, as I’m adding to this weeks later, it’s become very clear we are in dire need of an upgrade to our double pivot, both in starters and rotational squad. Having a player that can both play in the second and attacking 3rd could help squad building.


Ødegaard’s stats:

Ødegaard excels in two areas: His passing and his press resistance.

His passing, both short to medium length, is on par with the very best attacking midfielders. While attempting 27.85 short passes per 90, 92% of those find its designated target. That puts Ødegaard in the top 1% of attacking midfielders out there.

This also extends to his medium range passes, while not in the top 1%, he manages to stay in the top 5%.

This in itself isn’t impressive. Elneny ranks in the top 3% of short and medium pass completion rate as well – though doesn’t rank very well on pogressive passing distance.

Ødegaard, on the other hand, ranks among the top 20% of progressive passes.

The Norwegian also manages to be available to put himself into spaces to receive passes – being the target of 59.69 passes per 90, in which 86.6% is received, Ødegaard sits among the top 10%.

Once he has the ball he’s also quite effective with it at his feet, when he can, he progresses the ball further up the pitch on 7.79 occasions per 90, putting him above 81% of his competitors.


Offensive player comparison, Michael Cuisances, Martin Odegaard and Dani Ceballos (courtesy

Cuisance’s stats:

Cuisance excels in two areas: His passing and his defensive work.

While not attempting as many short or medium range passes as Ødegaard, Cuisance completes a hefty lot of his passes. Out of 21.99 passes per 90 attempted, 92% hit their target, putting Cuisance a meager 0.1% behind Ødegaard. On medium passes, 17.15 attempted passes per 90, 87.8% hit their target, setting him above 97% of other attacking midfielders.

And while Cuisance doesn’t score well on average progressive distance, he manages to make 4.08 passes into the final third, putting him at the top 6% of attacking midfielders.

While being able to pass the ball, Cuisance is also makes a hefty amount of tackles for an attacking midfielder. 2.27 tackles per 90 puts him among the best out there, this extends into the final third, making 0.53 tackles per 90 which puts him above 96% of players in the same position.

Along with tackles, Cuisance also manages to press through the whole field. And while 6.82 pressures per 90 in the final third puts him above 85%, his 13.01 pressures per 90 in the midfield third puts him in the top 1% of attacking midfielders out there.


Defensive stats player comparison, Michael Cuisances, Martin Odegaard and Dani Ceballos (courtesy

Comparing the two

It’s very obvious that Cuisance statistics bear the marks of him being played both as an attacking midfielder and a central midfielder for Olympique Marseille. And, while he’s done well in attack, it’s important to note that some players do better in deeper positions, where they don’t have to think about someone kicking their shins every time they receive the ball.

That being said, if Arsenal was looking for a cheaper option that might develop through coaching and time, Cuisance would have the right age profile to be coached into a better attacking midfielder.


Passing stats player comparison, Michael Cuisances, Martin Odegaard and Dani Ceballos (courtesy

In action


Interestingly, for Marseille, Cuisance tends to take up areas predominantly in the wide area on the right as well as the right hand half space. This being said, heatmaps suggest he drifts around the entire pitch, being both part of the buildup, attacking third and both wide areas.

Defensively, the midfielder tends to move down the spine of the pitch, looking for opportunities to create numerical superiority in wide areas. Given his positioning, a lot of the defensive positioning puts him in front of the turnovers, meaning he usually looks to make defensive runs.

Off the ball movement

Cuisance tends to favour the right channel as for receiving passes, giving his two midfield companions reign over the central area.

That being said, the young Frenchman tends to make infield darting runs from that right side area, dragging midfielders of defenders with him and opening up space.

Defensive work

When looking at Cuisance doing defensive work, you quickly understand why his pressing stats look so good. He doesn’t waste time getting tight to his man, usually following him far away from the central areas.

His aggressiveness also tends to leave his opponent on the ground, giving a lot of fouls away from over engaging in a tackle.

Overall, his high mobility gives him the chance to chase down a lot of turnovers.

Offensive work

One of the things that made me want to check out Cuisance was his offensive work. And watching him play, I understand what I enjoy about him – he likes to shoot. Taking up positions either inside the box or outside the D, he likes to let, at least, one shot unleash per game.

As he likes to join the attack, his movement usually leaves him attacking centrally along the striker, giving the wingers another body to get in behind. This also allows the central striker to drift wide and receive on the half spaces.

3 things i don’t like

First -Indecisiveness

Looking through the clips, I’d suggest Cuisance’s shooting stats could have been even better.

He gets into positions on a regular basis, that gives him the opportunity to set up a goal or release a shot instead – but as he gets into those positions, it looks like his brain turns into mush, and he takes two or three touches too many and loses the ball.

As he usually takes up positions just outside the penalty area, he runs the risk of starting a counter attack.

Second – Doesn’t run with the ball

This is seconded by his dribbling stats, which suggests he rarely succeeds with his take ons.

While his engine is good and his movement is positive, he doesn’t trust himself to run with the ball. In a lot of cases, he releases it early, slowing down the play and passes on the responsibility of creating a chance.

Third – Dribbling is very naïve

Looking more into his dribbling, it becomes clear what the problem is. While the likes of Pepe, Saka and Ødegaard use deceptive body language on direction or blind sided runs, everything Cuisance does can be predicted. Dominantly left footed, his first or second touch is almost entirely to get the ball onto his left foot. If he gets into shooting positions, you can be sure he won’t release one until it’s on his left side.


Looking at a direct comparison, it’s very clear Cuisance is some distance away from both Dani Ceballos and Ødegaard in case of output. Outshone in most areas, it’s clear he’s far from the finished package, and, with the clear hot package of the transfer window, Camavinga, emerging as every clubs top transfer target, the question should emerge, if it’s worth the effort.


Last year, Bielsa tried to grab him, before he was shipped to Marseille, which should tell you there’s a neat potential for a tidy player, given the right environment. That, along with his price tag should give pause for consideration.

Snatching him for his estimated €8m would give us the opportunity to still fill in the spaces we need, while also giving us the ability to sell in demand players.

If I was Arteta, I’d call up Brazzo and get an estimate on their selling price.


It’s becoming clear that player scouting is a job that requires attention to both the output and the desire. Nonetheless it’s an interesting journey. Considering the premature exit from the European League, Arsenal’s expected budget would take a hit, as well as the pulling power of the club itself.  That considered, being able to find the players who don’t have a massive spotlight above their head is vital.

Hopefully we’ll see a busy window that helps us identify Arteta’s idea of Arsenal.

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