Arsenal are flying, with manager Mikel Arteta meticulously crafting a team with title-winning credentials over the past several years.
With Arsenal last competing in the Champions League football in 2016/17, the club bitterly witnessed the hard work of last year suffer a bump in the closing stages, and a series of losses resulted in a fifth-placed finish confirmed in the closing phase of the season.
This term, the north London outfit cast aside the cobwebs of last season and looked to mount a more fruitful odyssey towards Europe’s coveted continental competition, but expectations have been exceeded and the Gunners perch atop the Premier League table with a five-point advantage on second-placed Manchester City, and with a game in hand.
In order to cement the club’s newfound prowess, owner Stan Kroenke granted Arteta funds to bolster the ranks this January, and the side’s technical director Edu has diligently targeted shrewd deals to enhance the chances of success.
And while Jorginho and Jakub Kiwior have been clinched to fortify the defensive and midfield ranks respectively, it is £27m acquisition Leandro Trossard, clinched from divisional rivals Brighton & Hove Albion who might have the most profound impact on the Emirates club’s endeavours over the remainder of the campaign.
Will Leandro Trossard be a hit at Arsenal?
Since arriving on the south coast to forge a Premier League career with Albion in 2019, joining from Belgian outfit Genk for £15m, the 24-cap star has plundered 25 goals and 14 assists in the English top-flight.
And this year, his seven goals and two assists in the league were imperative for the Seagulls as their flourishing season took flight, confirming his stature as a deadly offensive weapon and consequently piquing Arsenal’s interest.
As per FBref, he ranks among the top 16% of positional peers in Europe’s top five leagues for rate of non-penalty goals and touches in the attacking box, also in the top 18% for blocks, illustrating his direct prowess and willingness to get stuck in and rebuff opposing advances.
The “unreal” magician – as lauded by Rio Ferdinand – is the shrewd signing that Arsenal needed to add depth and quality to their finely balanced unit; with Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli flourishing down the offensive flanks, the league leaders will welcome the addition of such a dynamic and prolific force to ease the workload.
And while the Gunners faithful will lament the missed opportunity to sign Mykhaylo Mudryk, whose club Shakhtar Donetsk was engaged in intense negotiations with Edu before Chelsea swooped in and swiped the phenom from under their noses, tying him down to a £88.5m deal, the shrewder route in landing the 26-year-old Trossard offers a new dimension for a portion of the price.
While Trossard is not the ‘world-class’ acquisition that many of the Gunners faithful yearned for, he could well be their own Mudryk, with his crafty dribbling ability and direct play style providing a fine recipe for success when combined with his Premier League experience.
Indeed, he is a player of top-class calibre, and his impact within this roaring squad will be felt over the coming months, providing cover for the established flankers Martinelli and Saka, adding a valuable dimension to the frontline when unleashed.