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Linked with Arsenal for over a while now, latest reports making the rounds suggest Sead Kolasinac has chosen a transfer to the Emirates ahead of the likes of Everton, Manchester City and AC Milan this summer.
The 23-year-old Bosnia and Herzegovina has been in sensational form in the Bundesliga since becoming Schalke regular full-back in the 2012/13 season, and seems to be a better option for an Arsenal in terms of replacing Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs.
As well as being in the prime of his career, Kolasinac move to the Emirates suggest the Gunners boss Arsene Wenger plans to stick with a 3-4-2 system with wings-back next season, with the Bosnian displaying all the qualities needed to be a success in that role.
Let’s take a look at his background and key stats ahead of what could prove one of the bargains of the summer…….
Kolasinac is a 23-year-old defender playing for Schalke and the Bosnian national team, though he was born in Germany and had represented the German U18, U19, and U20 national side.
After spending some seasons with Hoffenheim and Stuttgart as a youngster, the Bosnian man eventually joined Schalke’s youth team in 2011, it wasn’t long before he joined the German side first-team.
He’s been regular for the Bundesliga side since the age of 18, he has progressed well down the years and has registered 18 appearances for Bosnia, though he was included in his country World Cup season in 2014 when he net an own goal in a defeat to Argentina.
The Schalke man is pretty versatile and has moved around a number of positions in his shot career already.
Starting out, Kolasinac was mostly utilized in the centre-back or a defensive midfielder for Schalke, before nailing his true role as a full-back.
This campaign, however, there’ve been times he was used as a left wing-back, but in him the Gunners could sign a player very capable of filling in as many as four positions fairly comfortably.
As clear an indication as any that Arsene Wenger wants to persist with wing-backs, Kolasinac’s stats shows an overall more attacking-minded player from defence.
With no goals but three assists between them, it’s clear that both Monreal and Gibbs are not at their best form on the pitch. The Bosnian, by contrast, has brilliant record of three goals and four assists in the Bundesliga this season.
Chelsea’s Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso have scored goals this season and have set the standard for the modern wing-back, but in Kolasinac it seems though the North Londoners have a player that would truly make their new lineup work.
In terms of chances created and take-ons, the Bosnia international is also ahead Monreal and Gibbs, though his passing accuracy could be improved as time goes on. Even that, however, could be down to his more attacking playing style resulting in losing the ball more often, rather than taking the simple option.
Without any doubts, Monreal performances this season doesn’t really measure up defensively in comparison to Kolasinac, although one can argue it’s down to the difference in how they’ve been used this season.
The Spaniard only made the move to wing-back and has even be selected as one of the three centre-backs when his teammates has filled in there, so has no doubt had more to do in that role.
The Bosnian man, meanwhile, has all times played as a left winger for Schalke so has generally impressed for more attacking freedom. It remains to be seen how well he could combine the two responsibilities if playing in Arsenal’s 3-4-3, but the signs look promising.
The best thing so far for Arsenal is that he’d be free as he’s out of contract with Schalke this summer, which makes all the interest in him even less surprising.
With some reports that other in-demand full-backs such as Monacos duo Benjamin Mendy and Djibril Sidibe could cost the Gunners in the region of £50million, this could be a hard business by Arsenal.
At 23, there still more he has to offer, and will surely be a high-prospect re-sale even if he fails to adapt to playing system at the Emirates Stadium.