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Player Profile – Leandro Trossard | What Will be the Belgian Forward’s Role at Arsenal?

Leandro Trossard

Arsenal announced the signing of Belgian attacker Leandro Trossard from Premier League rivals Brighton & Hove Albion in the January transfer window. The forward had grown disgruntled with the Seagulls after a fallout with manager Roberto De Zerbi.

The North London side completed the signing for a total fee of £27m, £20m up front and £7m in add-ons, on a three-and-half-year deal. The 28-year-old made his debut with a sharp cameo against Manchester United in the 3-2 win at the Emirates.

Leandro Trossard
Image Obtained via Football London

Player Career

Leandro Trossard made his professional debut for his boyhood club KRC Genk in 2012. The Belgian forward spent the next 4 years on loan, with Lommel United, Westerlo, Lommel United, and OH Leuven. He accumulated 34 goals from 89 appearances on loan.

Returning to Genk in 2016, the 28-year-old became a mainstay with the first-team for the next 3 seasons. In 99 games, the Belgian scored 33 goals and made 14 assists. His impressive performances earned him a move to Premier League side Brighton and Hove Albion.

Under Graham Potter, Trossard thrived in the left channel across different formations. At times, the present Chelsea boss even deployed the winger as an attacking midfielder or a false-nine. In 121 games for the Seagulls, he accumulated 25 goals and 13 assists.

The 28-year-old attacker also has 24 appearances for the Belgium National Team. He was a part of the 2020 Euro squad and the 2022 World Cup squad. The Belgian has 5 goals and 3 assists in National colours.

Player Profile

Leandro Trossard is equally adept with both feet, but mostly comes in from the left flank. He can play as a winger, wing-back, second striker or as a false-nine. He regularly drops deeper to get involved in the build-up phase too. He can create both by finding teammates in advanced positions, or by carrying the ball forward himself.

In the 2021-22 season, the 28-year-old averaged almost 1.8 successful dribbles every 90 minutes, with a success rate of 70%. He also had 53 passes into the box and 8 successful through balls. The Belgian is also a reliable finisher. Since joining Brighton, he has 25 goals from an xG of 21.6.

The former Genk attacker offers a different sort of dynamic from the wing than Gabriel Martinelli. Trossard would thrive in the left half-space, with a full-back or midfielder overlapping. Martinelli has often been instructed to hold width as Xhaka advances and Zinchenko inverts this season. It will be interesting to see how their roles are altered through the second half of the season.

Leandro Trossard: Role at Arsenal

Arsenal goal-keeper Aaron Ramsdale gave insightful input on how Leandro Trossard might function under Arteta. The English shot-stopper told The Fellas Podcast (via Mirror):

“Trossard is coming in to take someone’s place in his head, he’s not coming to – it might look like he is coming to be part of the squad, deep down like I was with (Bernd) Leno.”

It seems too early to mark out any of Arsenal’s current attackers to be benched for Trossard just yet. Jesus, Saka and Martinelli have been brilliant with 20 goals between them so far. Eddie Nketiah has done a remarkable job in covering for the injured Gabriel Jesus with 9 goals across all competitions so far. If the Belgian does break into the Arsenal XI, here are the possibilities:

1. At Left-wing

This would be a straight swap for Gabriel Martinelli in the line-up. However, the Brazilian has been absolutely phenomenal for Arteta over the last year or so. Martinelli holds width during the build-up phase, allowing Zinchenko to invert like a midfielder. His movement also allows Xhaka to advance and attack the left half-space.

The 28-year-old Belgian has also been deployed in the wide role, but is more comfortable coming deeper and narrower to directly receive possession. It will be interesting to see how he adapts to Arsenal’s tactical set-up.

2. As A False-nine

At least till Gabriel Jesus returns, Mikel Arteta could look to retain his starting wingers, and play Trossard in a central role. The Belgian can offer more in terms of build-up play and linking with his attackers as compared to Eddie Nketiah. However, the Yale-end product edges Trossard when it comes to instinct in the box and off-the-ball movement behind the defence.

Trossard would give the Gunners a different dynamic altogether from the central role. Arteta could experiment with the set up against teams that may play with a compact mid-block. The Belgian could be used to drop deeper to give Arsenal a numerical advantage in the middle of the field.

When Jesus returns, the Spaniard could also deploy the Brazilian in a wide role to accommodate the Belgian attacker centrally. This would allow the North London side a lot of fluidity in movement and rotations between positions too.

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Just like in defence, Arsenal now have a lot of depth and quality in attack. The availability of players who can play multiple positions offers Arteta a lot of flexibility. The Gunners have 5 quality players in attack, and it is unlikely that any of them will be content on the bench.

It is important to foster a healthy competition between the players in contention for spots in the starting XI. Teams like Chelsea, Manchester City, and Liverpool, who have great quality in depth rotate their line-ups frequently. This allows the managers to try out different combinations and develop chemistry between all the players.

Mikel Arteta will also have to rotate his squad effectively to keep his players happy and fresh as the North London side look to ramp up their charge for the Premier League title and Europa League.

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Adithya Ravi
Football enthusiast. Stat enthusiast

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