Arsenal have completed the signing of Sead Kolasinac from Schalke 04 on a free transfer. The 23-year-old German-born Bosnia & Herzegovina defender has spent his entire professional career at Schalke, spending five years at the club before joining up with the Gunners.
Arsenal haven't truly boasted a top notch left back since the days of Ashley Cole. Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal haven't truly convinced, but Arsene Wenger will hope Kolasinac is the man to fill that void.
Just how good of a transfer is this one?
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Kolasinac is an athletic and versatile player, capable of lining up as a fullback, wingback, wide in the midfield, as a center-back in a back three, or even in the center of midfield in a pinch. An energetic force, Kolasinac is a workhorse, trekking up and down the wing, with his heat map regularly appearing like a storm cloud hovering over the entire left side of the pitch. He's a ferocious tackler, and a committed defender, averaging 2.8 tackles and 3.2 interceptions per game in the Bundesliga.
Kolasinac's a well-rounded player, and he directly contributed to 10 goals this year for Schalke, scoring three and laying on seven assists for Die Königsblauen.
While Kolasinac is a strong and capable defender, he does tend to dive into challenges, and the 37 fouls he committed this past season are a testament to that. However, he's still young and developing as a player, and he'll fit right in with the physical nature of the Premier League.
Kolasinac could be the left-sided defender Arsenal have been crying out for since Ashley Cole and Gael Clichy left the club. He's already a quality player at just 23 years old, and he's got a high ceiling with plenty of room for improvement. His versatility will be paramount for the Gunners, giving Arsene Wenger plenty of options, whether he reverts to his tried and true 4-2-3-1 formation, or sticks with the back three he used towards the end of the season.
Kolasinac's high wages (reported to be around £140k/week, currently making him the highest-paid player at the club) are a sticking point, but that's to be expected with the club fending off interest from other teams, and he arrives on a free transfer.
Still, with players like Monaco's Benjamin Mendy reported to cost upwards of £40m, to sign a potentially world-class defender on a free is a coup. Should he end up flopping, they'll likely still be able to move him on for a solid fee, making this a fantastic signing for the Gunners.
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