Mikel Arteta brings in another of his old favourites from his time at Man City.
After missing out on the likes of Raphinha and Lisandro Martinez, Arsenal have got their transfer window back on track by completing the signing of Oleksandr Zinchenko from Manchester City. The Gunners have been keen on the Ukraine international for much of the summer, with Zinchenko able to add both quality and versatility to the Gunners’ squad.
Arsenal have paid a reported initial £30 million ($36m) fee to bring Zinchenko to the Emirates Stadium, with a potential £2m ($2.4m) due in add-ons if certain targets are met.
The 25-year-old has signed a four-year contract with Arsenal, with that deal set to keep him in north London through to the summer of 2026.
Zinchenko has spent much of his time at City providing cover at left-back, with Pep Guardiola having been keen to make the most of his energetic style and ability in possession.
Given Kieran Tierney’s track record with injuries, there is a decent chance that Zinchenko will have to fill in at that position over the course of his Arsenal career, but he has been signed primarily as a central midfielder.
Playing for Ukraine, Zinchenko acts as a play-making No.8, and it is in this role that Arsenal will look to utilise him most as they look to create more chances for the likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Zinchenko’s fellow new arrival from City, Gabriel Jesus.
This is a deal that makes so much sense for Arsenal.
Their interest in Zinchenko is nothing new, as he has been a player they have been looking at throughout the summer. But it was put on the back burner while they focused on trying to sign Lisandro Martinez.
After missing out on Martinez to Manchester United, however, they turned their attention back to Zinchenko and in truth, he feels like a better option for Arteta right now than the Argentina international.
Arsenal want cover for the injury prone Kieran Tierney and Zinchenko will provide that. But they also want someone who can play on the left of their central midfield three in a No.8 role, and he can do that as well, as he has proven with Ukraine.
And at 25, he fits the type of profile that Arsenal look for in signings. Like Jesus, he is also used to winning.
Zinchenko ticks all the boxes for Arsenal right now and his arrival promises to be another very smart bit of business by the Gunners.
Of all the players to leave Manchester City this summer, Zinchenko is probably the one with the most chance of being even better for his new club than he was during his time at the Etihad Stadium.
While Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling have already shown their undoubted quality, Zinchenko’s main role has been as an unfussy and effective left-back.
However, his international performances suggest that he has the potential to be even more influential and creative, but he was unlikely to get the chance to show that at City with so much quality already established further up the pitch.
And while he has been a superb stopgap, City look like they are finally going to sign a specialist left-back, likely in the shape of Brighton’s Marc Cucurella, to plug a gap that they have needed to fill for years.
The £30m price tag for Zinchenko could turn out to be a bargain for Arsenal, but right now it’s a deal that works for all parties, even if there will be some tears shed amongst many City fans that yet another beloved player is leaving.
Arsenal have had one of the busiest summers among Premier League clubs as they aim to kick on from their fifth-placed finish in 2021-22.
Their biggest signing has undoubtedly been Gabriel Jesus, who arrived from Manchester City in a £45m ($55m) deal.
They have also signed Brazilian teenager Marquinhos, United States goalkeeper Matt Turner and Portugal midfielder Fabio Vieira, who completed a £30m ($37m) switch from Porto.
But while Zinchenko may be their fifth summer signing, Arsenal are likely to still be active in the market.
Leicester City star Youri Tielemans is a long-term target of Arteta’s, and the Gunners were eager to land the Belgium midfielder earlier in the summer, but stepped back to focus on completing other deals, including that of Jesus.
Now, though, it would not be a surprise if they were to rekindle their chase for Tielemans, who is expected to cost around £25m ($30.5m).