Brute strength, powerful running and unrivalled work ethic, Sead Kolasinac has immediately taken to life at Arsenal with consummate ease. The 23-year-old scored an equaliser in the Community Shield match against Chelsea at Wembley on Sunday to announce himself to those who didn’t know him previously.
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Kolasinac might just be the bargain of the summer. He arrived on a free transfer this summer after his contract at Bundesliga side Schalke expired and was touted to become Arsenal’s future left wing-back following Arsene Wenger’s decision to change to three in defence.
While Nacho Monreal looks set to be entering into the final year of his Gunners career, Kolasinac represents an ideal upgrade on the experienced Spaniard in every sense of the word. His strength is the main feature visible to the naked eye but it’s also his surprisingly quick feet and intelligent running which make him the perfect signing to help challenge for the Premier League.
Thirty-two minutes into Arsenal’s Community Shield clash at Wembley saw Kolasinac enter the stage for an injured Per Mertesacker. The Bosnia international was asked to play in the centre of defence - a position that he is able to play in but by no means his favoured one. Those who were expecting the defender to start ahead of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at left wing-back were left disappointed before the match, but his headed equaliser shortly before full-time quickly showed why it won’t be long before he becomes a fan favourite at Arsenal.
“You have players who are pumped up in the gym, and players who are born strong, and he is the second,” said Wenger.
“I got him as well because of his attitude; the modern game doesn’t tolerate as many weaknesses any more as it did 20 years ago. He has good talent and a strong, determined attitude supported by a strong body.”
Another inspired run from deep which started inside his own half saw Kolasinac beat several Chelsea players. Not only did it provide an example of the player’s confidence to attack and show his qualities in the final third, it reminded those Arsenal supporters of what the team has lacked at times in previous seasons.
"He is a presence!" Mertesacker recently told the Evening Standard. "He fits well into this team. He’s a great character. His physique, yeah, he’s massive but also quick.
"Even going forward he looks comfortable, but he can play a deeper role in that back three because he’s got that tactical education from Germany. You can feel that in training. Going forward he plays the clear pass but is still dangerous.
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"He never gives up, you know, [you could see it] on that play where Theo scored. He’s a guy that never gives up and a great addition to this team.”
"Just muscle doesn’t work at all, you have to use it well," he added. "His physique is quite outstanding for a guy like him.”
Mertesacker’s words are reverberating around north London as the reality sets in that one of Europe’s most exciting left-backs now plays for Arsenal. The competition for places has once again increased and Nacho Monreal will have a fight on his hands to get into the team this season, but it can only be a good thing for Wenger’s side who are desperate to right the wrongs of last season and maintain a strong title challenge.