Arsenal have finally announced their fifth signing of the summer transfer window in the form of Oleksandr Zinchenko from Manchester City.
Zinchenko arrives in North London after signing a four-year contract following the two clubs reaching an agreement over a £30m fee plus £2m in performance-based add-ons, as per the Athletic.
He joins former City teammate Gabriel Jesus in joining the Gunners along with Porto midfielder Fabio Vieira, Brazilian youngster Marquinhos and reserve goalkeeper Matt Turner, formerly of MLS outfit New England Revolution.
In a statement via the Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said:
"“We’re so happy Alex has joined us. He’s a player that I personally know really well and continued to follow him after my time at Manchester City. Alex is a high quality player who will give us options and versatility. It’s not only about the positions he can play but as well, the versatility he will give us in attack and defence.“Alex is a person with great human qualities and character, and I’m delighted that everyone has made this huge effort to bring Alex to the club.”Via: Arsenal"
In his first interview since signing Zinchenko added:
"“First of all I would like to say this is a boyhood dream come true, because I was a massive fan when I was a kid. Since Thierry Henry and young Cesc Fabregas was playing here, I was just enjoying watching those games, that Arsenal. And obviously I started to love this club, so I am so excited and I cannot wait to play for this amazing club.Via: Arsenal"
Having operated at both left-back and in midfield during his career, the 25-year-old provides versatility to new manager Mikel Arteta – whom he has a pre-existing relationship with after the Spaniard’s time working under Pep Guardiola.
The Ukrainian international also brings with him a winning mentality. In less than five years since making his City debut in October 2017, he won nine major domestic honours.
These include four Premier League titles and EFL Cups respectively alongside one FA Cup. He also boasts Champions League experience which Arsenal so dearly lacked beforehand.
What Oleksandr Zinchenko will bring to Arsenal
At club-level, the majority of his minutes have come at left-back, no doubt owing in large part to the strength his former side possesses in midfield but also his willingness to put the interests of the collective above that of his own.
The latter is a hallmark of the philosophy Mikel Arteta has looked to impart on his players with this evidenced by the departures of individuals deemed disruptive to his side’s equilibrium, notwithstanding their seniority.
Not only does Oleksandr Zinchenko fit Mikel Arteta’s ‘process’ from a temperament standpoint, but he also suits his new boss’ desired style of play and provides cover for two positions which demanded reinforcement ahead of the summer transfer window.
In regard to the former, as per FBref’s database, Zinchenko ranked in the 99th percentile for pass completion and 98th for progressive passes among his counterparts in the Premier League last season.
Arteta demands his players to be confident in possession, therefore, allowing for a direct yet measured attacking approach, reliant on decisive build-up.
In addition to this, left-back and the number ‘8’ role in midfield – where Zinchenko occupies internationally – were weak points for Arsenal last season. While it is unclear where exactly Arteta has in mind for the player, he can provide apt cover in each position.
Pep Guardiola thanks Zinchenko for service
Pep Guardiola discussed Zinchenko’s departure in a press conference while away on a preseason tour in the US.
The Sky Blues are set to face Mexican outfit Club America on July 20th and German champions Bayern Munich three days later before returning home to play Liverpool in the Community Shield.
"“I’ll say on behalf of the club our gratitude on and off the pitch,” Guardiola exclaimed.“It was nice yesterday with Oleks (Zinchenko) because we could say bye properly. Unfortunately, Gabi [Gabriel Jesus] and Raheem [Sterling] could not do it but with him we could and he moves on to Arsenal.”Via: The Mirror"
The Manchester City boss has been vocal in his praise for Zinchenko which bodes well for his new employers.
As is the case with the North West club, the departure has a layer of amicability and a sense that it is the best outcome for all parties with Oleksandr Zinchenko able to fully realise his potential.