DANIEL MATTHEWS: Oleksandr Zinchenko’s reunion with Mikel Arteta will boost Arsenal’s ambitions… the versatile Ukrainian will add technical quality and habits of success mined at Man City once £32m move is complete
- Oleksandr Zinchenko has flown to Florida to complete a £32m move to Arsenal
- The versatile Ukrainian international will be Arsenal’s fifth summer signing
- The 25-year-old strengthens Mikel Arteta’s options at left back and in midfield
- He was very popular at Man City with team-mates, who admired his selflessness
The story goes that in 2014 Arsene Wenger caught a glimpse of Oleksandr Zinchenko when the Ukrainian was just 17. ‘I need him,’ Wenger said, according to the player’s then agent.
Eight years on, Zinchenko is an Arsenal player. He has flown to Florida to complete a £32million move, following a last supper with Pep Guardiola and the Manchester City team-mates with whom he won four Premier League titles. The Ukrainian will be Arsenal’s fifth summer signing. Already he feels among the most significant.
Zinchenko will add versatility and technical quality to Arsenal’s squad. The 25-year-old strengthens their options at left back and in midfield.
Oleksandr Zinchenko won four league title with Man City but is now joining Arsenal for £32m
The Ukrainian will add versatility, strength and technical quality to Arsenal’s young squad
Kyle Walker recently ranked him among City’s three most technically gifted players in training — above Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and Joao Cancelo. ‘They don’t come close,’ Walker said.
‘Zinchenko is incredible.’ Arsenal wanted a left back and a central midfielder this summer. Mikel Arteta has landed someone who can do both, someone who knows the Premier League and who knows him, too.
Kieran Tierney is Arsenal’s first-choice left back but, with his injury struggles, Zinchenko offers more than adequate cover.
In central midfield, he looks perfectly suited to playing on the left of Arteta’s three. That is where he played for Ukraine in last month’s World Cup play-offs, when his positional intelligence and quick feet were striking.
Zinchenko offers more than adequate cover for first-choice Arsenal left-back Kieran Tierney
Guardiola believes Zinchenko is at his best as a creative midfielder. An added bonus? Zinchenko will also bring habits of success, mined at City.
Arteta, who worked with him under Guardiola, looks for ideas from senior players about how they ‘want to live’ and how they ‘want to be perceived’. Zinchenko could prove a fruitful source of standards.
At City, he was very popular among his team-mates, who admired his selflessness and how he dealt with the trauma of war.
City manager Pep Guardiola believes Zinchenko is at his best as a creative midfielder
In 2018, Zinchenko nearly joined Wolves. City were baffled he stayed and thought he lacked ambition, only for the Ukrainian to force his way into the team and become integral.
It was fitting that his closing act for City came against Aston Villa on the final day last season, when his introduction proved key to the remarkable comeback that ended with a fourth title in five years.
The kid Arteta first met at City now arrives at Arsenal as a man, a father and a player of experience and exceptional quality.
The kid Mikel Arteta first met at City now arrives at Arsenal as a man, a father and a player