Oleksandr Zinchenko was hailed as “an exceptional footballer” by Mikel Arteta as the Ukraine international prepares to complete his move from Manchester City to Arsenal.
The left-back, who can also play in midfield, has joined up with the Gunners on their United States tour.
His switch from Premier League champions City is yet to be finalised, but it would take something unusual to derail the transfer now.
Zinchenko watched on as Arsenal beat Orlando City 3-1 on Wednesday night, with Gabriel Martinelli’s heavily deflected first-half effort followed by goals after the interval from Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson.
Manager Arteta must move on players to ensure Arsenal’s squad for the new season is not overloaded, but he is delighted to have Zinchenko’s arrival all but sealed.
“As you’ve seen, he is here,” Arteta told a post-match news conference. “There are still a few formalities to get everything completed, but we’re really happy to have him.
“I know the player really well; he’s an exceptional footballer, and he is someone that is going to bring as well another competitive edge to that dressing room.”
Thanks for all of your amazing support, Orlando! pic.twitter.com/ctoCVpcreO
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) July 21, 2022
Arteta worked with Zinchenko at Manchester City before leaving Pep Guardiola’s coaching staff to strike out on his own at Arsenal.
Given Arsenal already have Kieran Tierney as an established left-back, midfield seems likely to be Zinchenko’s regular position.
“He was a natural number 10 early in his career and [at City] we converted him into a left-back which can do a lot of things that we want in our way of playing,” Arteta said.
“That versatility is something that is going to be important for the team because we have players in that position who are more specific full-backs, so I’m really happy.”
Zinchenko, thought to be costing around £30million, will become the second big recruit by Arsenal from City during the off-season, after Gabriel Jesus joined in a £45million deal.
Arteta said Arsenal, who have also spent over £30million on former Porto star Fabio Vieira, must look to push ahead with thinning out their squad now,
“We have to,” Arteta said. “We have a big squad and now we have to make things happen.”
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