According to Sky Sports, and several other sources, Arsenal have sealed a deal to sign Schalke star Sead Kolasinac on a free transfer, once his contract at the Veltins Arena expires this summer.
The Bosnian international isn’t too well known in England but he’s been steadily developing a reputation in the Bundesliga for some time, ever since becoming a Schalke regular during the 2012/13 season.
Now 23 years of age and with Schalke struggling to finish in the top half this season, the timing feels right for Kolasinac to make the step up to the next level – and fortunately for Arsenal, he’s a perfect fit for the 3-4-3 formation that has provided a more flattering end to what has been a largely disastrous season in north London.
Indeed, Kolasinac has featured as a left-back and a left wing-back this season and possesses that balance between offensive and defensive attributes, combined by natural athleticism, which has allowed so many Premier League sides to play with just one wide man on each flank this term.
Whilst his defensive returns are up there with any Arsenal defender, producing 2.8 tackles and 3.2 interceptions per match, he’s shown his quality at the other end as well, contributing to eight of Schalke’s 44 Bundesliga goals. Although Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal have both performed well in the wing-back role, the 18-cap international is a natural candidate.
Some still doubt whether Arsene Wenger will be at Arsenal next season and whether he’ll utilise the 3-4-3 formation long-term, but Kolasinac’s apparent arrival suggests both will be the case in 2017/18.