The Croatian right-back to plug the gap at Arsenal

Name: Sime Vrsaljko

Country: Croatia

Club: Genoa

Age: 22

International Caps: 8

Position: Right-back

Arsene Wenger has long been linked with an interest for Genoa’s young Croatian right-back. With Bacary Sagna having finally left, the club are in desperate need of a replacement, and Vrsaljko would seem a fitting replacement for the reliable Frenchman in Arsenal’s defence.

One of the most prominent features of Vrsaljko’s game is his versatility. He is equally adept playing at either full-back position, and could help fill in behind Kieran Gibbs, if Nacho Monreal heads back to Spain as papers have recently suggested.

Vrsaljko is an astute defender and an effective attacker. He has honed his skills as a wing-back in front of Genoa’s three centre-backs. His idol is Dani Alves, and the Croatian has admitted to modelling various aspects of his game around the Brazilian. He is a consistently accurate crosser, and has the vision and technique to thread passes in behind defences. He is always available for an overlap, linking up well with players who operate ahead and inside him. With Theo Walcott often tending to drift into a central position, this would vacate the space for Vrsaljko to thrive in on Arsenal’s right wing.

However, his attacking instincts aren’t overpowering, as Vrsaljko is an astute and tactically aware defender. His six-foot frame gives him a presence in aerial duels. He can be reckless at times, but what would you expect from a Dani Alves fanboy?

The Gunners are in dire need of somebody to immediately plug the gap Sagna has left. Vrsaljko is young enough to grow into a top class full-back, and good enough to make the place his own now.


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