Good morning, a quick Saturday round-up for you.
Arsenal made their first signing of the January window, securing the arrival of Leandro Trossard from Brighton for a fee of £21m which could potentially reach £27m. As I wrote yesterday, there are lots of reasons why this is a smart signing, so there’s no need to go over them again – but it’s clear that one of the important ones is how quickly he can settle in and make an impact.
Mikel Arteta spoke about it in his press conference yesterday, saying:
“|We are really happy to have him. He’s a player we have followed for a while now. The opportunity came – we had the necessity to have a player in the frontline who is versatile enough to play in different positions.
“He knows the league, he has enough experience here and I think he can have an immediate impact on the team. We have to think short-term, but medium and long-term as well. He gives us all of that. He’s a very intelligent player. When you look at his career and what he’s done in the last few years, he’s a player that fits our way of playing.”
While the player himself said:
Arsenal has so much history and I want to be part of that history going on. That’s why I joined this project. I’m really excited to be here. I want to show myself to all the fans and on the biggest stage.
I’m really excited to see the fans in the stadium. I hope I can give you my all. I want to try and create as many magic moments as possible, and hopefully we can celebrate together.
The club made a point of saying that the paperwork was completed ahead of yesterday’s noon deadline for him to be available for Sunday’s game against Man Utd, and hopefully he can be part of the squad for that. We have a lot of football to play in the second half of this season, so the quicker gets involved the better.
For more on Trossard, Phil Costa’s profile piece is here – and for Patreon members, we do our usual new signing podcast which you can check out here. A Tross cast, if you will.
The transfer news didn’t begin and end there, as I had expected – for yesterday at least. We’d barely had the news that all the Trossard stuff was done when we were heavily linked with Polish centre-helped Jakub Kiwior. He currently plays for Spezia in Serie A, and reports say a £20m fee has been agreed between the clubs and he’ll travel to London this weekend to complete the formalities of the deal. He might even be at the stadium to watch the United game.
He is a left-footed centre-half who can play in midfield too (sounds a bit familiar, eh?), and it makes a lot of sense when you consider how we don’t have ‘natural’ cover for Gabriel. We have players who can play there, but Mikel Arteta likes a left-footed player in that position, and we don’t have that. Gabriel has started 53 consecutive Premier League games which is a real measure of his consistency and durability, but it also illustrates it’s one of the positions on the pitch where we’re just a little light.
The clip below a very interesting 90 seconds or so on Kiwior, a player many of us will be doing our homework on over the weekend.
Insight into Jakub Kiwior – @FMAnalysis spoke in detail about the Polish defender, his strong ball-playing ability, versatility and potential on our World Cup Standouts podcast. A snippet. pic.twitter.com/3gelDHoz3p
— Scouted Football (@scoutedftbl) January 20, 2023
From my brief look at him so far, he’s good on the ball, he’s 6’2 so gives us more physical presence, and the out-of-the-blue-ness of this one is interesting too. This is when we need to buy players. Let’s be honest, Mudryk was one we should have done last summer before it went mental. I’m not saying this scenario is the same, but this price tag is much more commensurate to a 22 year old who just broke into his national side in the last 12 months. He’s far more experienced than Mudryk, but attackers have the special sauce which makes the price go through the roof. Anyway, this looks like smart business too.
There is also talk of signing Valladolid right-back Ivan Fresneda, suggestions that he’ll play his final game for the Spanish side today before moving to London. We’ll wait for details on that one, but we’re not short of options in that position, so it might be a case he signs and ends up loaned back. Unless we want to get him in and indoctrinated in the Arsenal way as soon as possible. He’s 18, and garnering a lot of interest, so like the one above, maybe we’ve decided to get in quickly before the fee gets out of hand.
Finally, an quite excitingly, there’s a link to Real Madrid’s French international Eduardo Camavinga. In TheStandard, Simon Collings reports that Arsenal are interested in a loan deal for the 20 year old who is somewhat on the outs at the Bernebeu. He has started just five games in La Liga, and this would be a hugely exciting signing – even just on loan, because we all have those midfield worries. Personally, I think Real Madrid would be mental to let him go, but then we all know football clubs can be a bit mad at times. There are shades of Martin Odegaard in January of 2021, so let’s see what happens.
What we can say is that after a couple of weeks where things didn’t come off in the market, Arsenal look to have moved quickly to address that. Whether we’re going in a completely different direction, or bringing forward some plans we have for the summer – or a bit of both – I don’t exactly know, but it really does feel like we’re giving it a good push for the most important second half of a season in nearly 20 years.