It was the 6th June 2017 when Arsenal announced that they would be signing defender Sead Kolasinac from Schalke on a free transfer. The signing was greeted with confusion from the Gunners faithful as this wasn’t a marquee name that we were hoping for.
Rather, another cheap gamble that Arsene Wenger is unfortunately notorious for. However, delving deeper into the signing, this was a 24-year-old Bosnian international who had just been named in the Bundesliga team of the season and was looking to move on to pastures new.
The left-back position for Arsenal has been somewhat of a problem since Ashley Cole left for Chelsea. Gael Clichy made the position his own but he wasn’t the marauding presence down the left that Cole was.
Kieran Gibbs had his run in the team and was fully expected to lock down this position for the next decade but his form faded and was replaced by Nacho Monreal. Monreal has been good at the position but in the new 3-5-2 formation, he has slotted in at the left side of the three centre backs so a new left wing-back was needed.
Arsenal have long been described as a team that is extremely fickle and easy to push over when the game turns physical. Pundits have long criticised Wenger for bringing in the same kind of diminutive player and not players that can physically take over the game and dominate.
Well, looking at Kolasinac, it’s safe to say that Wenger is breaking that mould. A physically dominating man, Kolasinac definitely looks that part. Standing at 6’0 and physically imposing, he is more robust than finesse, more grit than flair, more powerful than elegant.
Kolasinac by far the best signing of the season— Josh🇳🇱 (@AGriezSZN) October 28, 2017
His marauding runs down the left hand side have offered Arsenal another threat during their attacking possessions. Also not afraid to take a player off the dribble, he relishes the chance to show his quality on the ball. Now, all of this would be mean nought if his end product wasn’t up to par, but alas, he checks that box aswell.
He has already contributed three assists in the Premier League this season with lovely deliveries and through passes to the forward players. On the other side of the ball, Arsenal full-backs have been criticised for being weak when subjected to one-on-one battles against more diminutives wingers. However, with the wide from of Kolasinac accompanied with his deceptive pace, he has fared very well when faced with wingers in the Premier League.
His debut against Chelsea made him a hero instantaneously. His flicked header into the far corner to give Arsenal the lead won the hearts of the fans that had made the trip up to Wembley, and it has been trending upwards since then.
He isn’t afraid to go forward and make himself an option during the attacking play. He isn’t up there just to make up the numbers as he has already provided three assists in the Premier League in just ten games.
Additionally, his thunderbolt of a strike against Cologne in the Europa League revealed what he can do when he is given the chance to score a goal.
Finally, once again we as fans questioned Wenger, and once again he proved us wrong. This may prove to be a shrewd piece of business by Wenger which will prove fruitful for years to come.