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Arsenal Move Closer to Signing Manchester City Star as Arteta Offers Preferred Role to the Player

Oleksandr Zinchenko, Arsenal

According to reports, Manchester City defender Oleksandr Zinchenko has been linked with a move to Arsenal in this summer transfer window. Manager Mikel Arteta is a big admirer of the Ukrainian and is looking to bolster his squad depth by bringing him to the Emirates.

Zinchenko has won four Premier League titles, four EFL Cups, the FA Cup and the Community Shield during his six years at Manchester City. He was also part of the starting eleven that lost to Chelsea in the 2021 Champions League final, their first loss in a final under Guardiola.

The Ukraine International is open to leaving the Etihad Stadium this summer, but with a condition that any interested club will have to provide him a midfield role, as reported by 90min. The 25-year-old has been used as a rotational left-back by Pep Guardiola, even though his natural position is in attacking midfield and he has demonstrated his exceptional qualities as a midfielder for his national team.

Oleksandr Zinchenko, Arsenal
Image Obtained via Football London

According to MEN, Arsenal are interested in signing Oleksandr Zinchenko of Manchester City. Although not particularly unhappy at the Etihad Stadium, he would certainly prefer more game-time and might be inclined to a move away. He started only 10 league games last season and his first-team minutes is not likely to change next year.

West Ham have also reportedly expressed interest in a move for the player. However, as reported by the Evening Standard, Arteta is willing to offer Zinchenko a midfield role at the Emirates Stadium in a desperate bid to convince him while the Hammers boss is looking to bring him in as a left-back to provide competition to Aaron Cresswell.

Although West Ham will rival Arsenal for the signature of Oleksandr Zinchenko, the Gunners are likely to be the preferred choice for the player, given the likelihood of more game-time and favourable role. Moreover, City are looking at Brighton left-back Marc Cucurella, who had a breakthrough 21/22 campaign, which might push the 25-year-old further down the pecking order.

Player Profile

Mikel Arteta must have analysed Zinchenko properly during his days as an assistant to Pep Guardiola at Man City. In a team full of star players, the Ukrainian often does not get the credit he deserves. He has frequently been their best player on the pitch. Zinchenko plays as an inverted full-back, often taking up positions in central areas of the midfield and overloading his side of the flank during build-up play.

His fantastic vision, distribution and on-the-ball presence make him a more capable creative midfielder than a left-back. Zinchenko secures over 100 passes per 90 minutes while completing nearly 92% of those passes last season. In an Arsenal midfield with Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny, Zinchenko will provide more attacking options and be more defensively stable than the current Gunners’ midfield.

Oleksandr Zinchenko, Mikel Arteta
Image Obtained via Mirror

The 25-year-old likes to play short passes and is capable of easily breaking lines with either a pass or dribble, but it is his off-the-ball movement that is, perhaps, even more impeccable. The full-back is brilliant at taking up the right positions and timing his runs to great effect. This allows him to not only create chances for his side and assist goals, but also win fouls for his team in dangerous areas.

The reason why Guardiola uses Zinchenko as a backup to Joao Cancelo was that the former’s defensive contributions are very telling. He averages 2.4 tackles per game (as per MasterMind). If City weren’t a dominant possession-based side, those stats would be even higher and closer to the league’s best.

Verdict:

Zinchenko has two years left on his contract and is happy to open talks over an extension but is also open to listening to other clubs’ offers before penning a deal. City are unable to guarantee the player any squad roles further forward, even though he has become a regular at the club in the left-back position after snubbing a move to Wolves in 2018.

Read More:

Arsenal are interested in signing Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans but their interest in Oleksandr Zinchenko is thought to be independent of their move for the Belgian. West Ham and Everton are ready to rival Arsenal for the left-back but they also find it difficult to guarantee a midfield role.

The Gunners’ failure to finish in the top-four has given Arteta a smaller budget to work with, so he has had to plan accordingly and prioritise replacing Alexandre Lacazette in the forward position immediately before addressing other concerns.

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