By Rob Kelly
Shorter players are becoming hot property in the transfer market because of their innate technical ability, according to Arsène Wenger.
This summer, the Arsenal manager signed Santi Cazorla from Malaga, while Shinji Kagawa and Luka Modric also made big-money moves.
Wenger believes the value of these players has rocketed due to changes in recent seasons across European football.
“I believe it’s because the density of players you have to fight against in the final third is always getting bigger, so the quality of the pass and the technique in that area has become much more important,” he told the Official Arsenal Magazine.
“There is less space available, so accuracy is key. Secondly, because there is a smaller space the shorter players, the very agile players, are becoming more important and the taller players in midfield less so. That could be an explanation.
“It’s changed in the last four or five years - the distances absorbed by players are becoming bigger and bigger, and therefore the limited space on the pitch demands more technical ability.”
Wenger says so-called defensive midfielders have also had to redefine their roles due to the evolution of the modern game.
“Yes, but you can now say that this player has had to become more technical - you saw it during Euro 2012, with guys like Andrea Pirlo playing in this position,” he said.
“They are not destroyers anymore, they are players that the game starts from and the quality of their passing has become very important. That’s why you don’t really see purely destructive players in these positions anymore.”
Read the full interview with the boss in the latest edition of the Official Arsenal Magazine. Click here to subscribe or call 0845 301 7626Copyright 2016 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source