There is a myth going around that Sead Kolasinac doesn’t possess the skill or technique that some of his Arsenal team-mates have in abundance.
But during the 70th minute of the Gunners' 2-1 win over Swansea on Saturday, the Bosnian left-back executed a deft backheel to play Alexis Sanchez through and remind everyone that despite his bulky Hulk-like frame, you are unlikely to find a more talented left sided defender in the Premier League right now.
Kolasinac has endeared himself to Arsenal supporters just three months after arriving on a free transfer from Schalke. The tough-tackling defender continues to make inroads in north London with his powerful running down the left-hand side, while his tireless work ethic can only be matched by Sanchez – harrying down opponents and sliding in when he’s sure of winning the ball.
“Maybe he is the strongest, he is naturally strong,” Arsene Wenger said in August when asked to compare the Bosnia international’s physique to previous players he has managed.
“He uses quite well the strength of his body without violence and when he intervenes it doesn’t look to be a foul, he just uses his body strength. It is an important quality to help adapt to the Premier League.”
Huge transfer fees were exchanged this summer for a plethora of players around the world. Paris Saint-Germain agreed eye-watering deals for Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, while Manchester splashed out £75 million on Romelu Lukaku, a fee Jose Mourinho described as a "bargain".
Meanwhile, Arsenal broke their own club record with the £52m deal to purchase Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon. Amid all the discussion over the big numbers and illustrious names, Kolasinac’s arrival has gone under the radar despite him leaving such a fantastic impression on the league so far.
He was named in the Bundesliga Team of the Year last season and when you consider that Manchester City paid in excess of £50m each for both Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker, then the common description of fellow full-back Kolasinac being a “nice bargain” has only been emphasised ten-fold.
A goal and assist to help Aaron Ramsey secure the three points for Wenger’s side certainly went down well with the supporters on Saturday. Despite limping off towards the end of Arsenal’s win at the Emirates, a never-say-die attitude from Kolasinac will almost certainly see him return for the Gunners in their next Premier League match against Manchester City a week on Sunday.
It could also prove to be the game where the 24-year-old free transfer reminds Pep Guardiola why you don’t need to spend big to attract top quality.