Oleksandr Zinchenko set to join Arsenal from Manchester City after £32m deal agreed; Ukrainian has won four Premier League titles with Manchester City but only made 15 league appearances last season; Arsenal have already signed Gabriel Jesus from Pep Guardiola's side this summer
Thursday 21 July 2022 08:28, UK
Oleksandr Zinchenko has arrived in Orlando ahead of completing his £32m move to Arsenal from Manchester City.
The formalities now just need to be completed before his move becomes official, with this the final stages of his medical and paperwork.
The Gunners are set to pay £30m up front with £2m in add-ons, while personal terms are not expected to be a problem.
Zinchenko has spent just over six years at City after joining the club as a teenager from Russian side Ufa.
The 25-year-old, who was coached by Mikel Arteta during the Arsenal manager's spell as assistant to Man City boss Pep Guardiola, can cover a variety of positions, including left-back and central midfield.
It is understood Arteta is excited about the prospect of working with Zinchenko again and values his versatility as a player.
Arsenal have been in the market for a left-sided defender and were trying to sign Manchester United's new arrival Lisandro Martinez from Ajax.
Zinchenko is expected to team up with former City team-mate Gabriel Jesus at Arsenal after the Brazilian left the Etihad to move to north London earlier this month in a £45m deal.
Zinchenko is also set to become the Gunners' fifth summer signing following the arrivals of Jesus, Marquinhos, Matt Turner and Fabio Vieira.
Pep Guardiola has hailed the impact Oleksandr Zinchenko had at Manchester City and said the success the Ukraine international earns at Arsenal will be shared by his former club.
Ahead of Zinchenko's move to the Emirates, the City boss said: "Like Gabriel [Jesus] and Raheem [Sterling], the impact of those three players in the years I am here has been massive.
"So we are going to miss them. They are exceptional players but, for different circumstances, they move on.
"Chelsea and Arsenal are two incredible clubs and the success and happiness they will have there will be ours.
"For myself and I think on behalf of the club, our gratitude for their effort and the way they behave on and off the pitch.
"It was nice yesterday with Oleks because we could say 'bye' properly. Unfortunately with Raheem and Gabriel we could not do it because it was the summertime, but yesterday at dinner together we could say 'bye' to him."
Man City, meanwhile, want to bring in a left-back and remain interested in Brighton's Marc Cucurella, as Sky Sports News revealed back in June.
The 23-year-old enjoyed a hugely successful first season in the Premier League after joining from Getafe in a deal worth around £15m last summer.
Brighton do not want to let Cucurella leave and it would take a huge offer for them to sell given he has four years remaining on his contract at the Amex.
Talks continue between Arsenal and Fulham over the sale of goalkeeper Bernd Leno, though a gap in valuation still exists.
Arsenal are open to allowing him to leave as he has entered the final year of his contract, and they have back-up in recently-signed USA international keeper Turner.
Elsewhere, Valencia are interested in signing Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira.
Torreira has entered the final year of his contract and Arsenal are listening to offers, having spent the last two seasons on loan - at Atletico Madrid in 2020/21 and at Fiorentina last season.
Clubs in the Championship and the Bundesliga are also interested in signing striker Folarin Balogun on loan.
Balogun is on the club's pre-season tour, and manager Mikel Arteta will decide if his development is best served at Arsenal next season, or on loan.
Sky Sports football journalist Sam Blitz:
"Mikel Arteta has been looking at additions at left-back and central midfield in this summer transfer window. The Gunners wanted Ajax's Lisandro Martinez, who has experience in playing in both positions as well as centre half, but now looks destined for Manchester United. Leicester City's Youri Tielemans has also been looked at but that interest has cooled in recent weeks.
"There is reason why the Arsenal manager needs support in that role. At left-back, Kieran Tierney has picked up long-term injuries in the last two seasons at crucial moments and while Nuno Tavares was signed as cover last summer, the young Portuguese full-back struggled in the big moments and ended up behind Cedric Soares and Granit Xhaka in the left-back pecking order come the end of the season.
"In midfield, Xhaka is a mainstay in Arteta's team but there is little competition for his specific role. Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny and Albert Sambi Lokonga all compete for the same position at the base of Arsenal's midfield, leaving Xhaka to a number 8 role.
"Should he play in midfield, a role he undertakes regularly at international level, Zinchenko would compete with Xhaka at Arsenal - and a closer look at their respective heatmaps last season shows that the two play in the same area of the pitch, even though the Ukrainian played at left-back and the Arsenal man operated from midfield.
"On the ball, Zinchenko's passing statistics are superior to Xhaka's - but that is to be expected given Guardiola's City keep the ball and use it better than Arsenal. Zinchenko and City defended a lot less than Arsenal last summer, but the Ukrainian international's defensive stats still trump Xhaka's. Zinchenko won more tackles, interceptions and challenges in the air than the Swiss midfielder - a reminder that the two players operate in roughly the same area of the pitch."
Gabriel Jesus, who made the same move Zinchenko could do earlier this summer, scored 90 seconds into his first Arsenal outing as his double helped the Gunners to a 5-3 friendly victory over German second division side FC Nurnberg.
The Brazil striker came on at half-time in Germany with the Gunners 2-0 down - and made an immediate impact, scoring high in the net from Ainsley Maitland-Niles' pass.
Mohammed Elneny then hit a wonder-strike to equalise for Mikel Arteta's side, before two Nurnburg own goals from Christpher Schindler and Tim Handwerker gave the Gunners a 4-2 advantage.