Arsenal

Arsenal could sign a new “weapon” to finally upgrade on Zinchenko

Arsenal could be in the market to bolster their defence in the January window.

Arsenal sit top of the Premier League table at Christmas for a second time in succession. Of course, it’s who finishes top come May that really matters but it’s a morale-booster for those at the Emirates Stadium.

All they needed to do on Saturday evening was avoid defeat against Liverpool and they did that, drawing 1-1 in a thrilling clash with their closest title rivals so far this campaign.

That said, there were a few issues for Mikel Arteta’s men during the encounter, problems he’ll hopefully be able to address in the January transfer market.

One of those was having a striker in the right place at the right time. Gabriel Jesus is brilliant for this Arsenal team but on a number of occasions at Anfield he was nowhere to be seen as a cross was flashed across the box. There’s also the problem of Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Zinchenko’s biggest flaws
The Ukrainian is a huge part of why Arsenal have been able to revamp the way they play over the last 18 months. Since signing from Manchester City, Arteta has fielded him in an inverted left-back role, a position that he has since made his own.

Kieran Tierney’s inability to play in such a manner has seen him shipped out to Real Sociedad on loan, while Nuno Tavares was also dealt with similarly, now playing at Nottingham Forest for the campaign.

The likes of Takehiro Tomiyasu and Jurrien Timber have played there when fit but it’s largely been Zinchenko. The trouble is, for all of the technical elegance he brings, the left-back is suspect defensively.

There weren’t many weak links at Anfield on Saturday but the £32m signing was one. Not many full-backs will have the beating of Mo Salah but the way the Ukraine international let the Egyptian slide past him for the equalising goal was all too easy. Zinchenko just dangled a leg out in a lazy fashion and Salah breezed past him.

There was a moment in the second half too where he ceded possession all too easily, but fortunately, he got away with it on the occasion.

Mistakes like that appear to have become commonplace for Zinchenko, a man who looks as composed as anything in central areas but when pressed inside his own half struggles to cope. The mistake against Wolves proved this. He carried it inside but far too close to his own penalty box and gave possession away. The result? A Matheus Cunha goal.

As such, it would not be a surprise if long-term, Arteta looks to find an upgrade.

The signing Arsenal could make to replace Zinchenko
Timber and Tomiyasu could well step in if needs be but signing an out-and-out left-back should well be on the agenda for Edu and Co at some point next year.

It perhaps explains links to one of the most impressive full-backs in LaLiga; Miguel Gutierrez. Fabrizio Romano revealed in November that Arsenal’s scouts had been tracking the exciting 22-year-old.

 

The club’s recruitment team has likely been left impressed with what they’ve seen. So far this term, Gutierrez, who is playing for high-flying Girona, has scored once and supplied three assists in 19 outings.

That assist count happens to be as many as Zinchenko has in his entire Arsenal career, all 54 games to date.

 

Described as a “weapon from left-back” by scout Antonio Mango, the former Real Madrid youth product has only been going from strength to strength in recent months. The 5 foot 11 defender is a serious prospect and would be a hugely eye-catching signing for the Gunners. You only need to assess how he differs to Arsenal’s number 35 to understand why.

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