Schalke started the 2016/17 season in terrible fashion, losing their first 5 games and remaining inconsistent throughout the season. However, while consistently standing out and improving throughout the campaign was a tough thing to do, one of the bright spots was Sead Kolašinac. Circumstances were tough, but the Bosnian soared beyond expectation and started growing into one of Europe’s finest players in his position. He produced his best performance for Schalke against Ajax in the 2nd leg of the Europa League, with energy levels off the charts, assisting Burgstaller with a low cross and chipping in a cross to Caligiuri at the back post.
The wingback role provided by Arsenal’s newfound 3-4-3 suits Kolašinac and his attributes well. His defensive style is primarily on the front foot, preferring to push out into tackles and make interceptions high up. An example of this is in a 2-1 loss to Hamburg where he completed 11 interceptions, the most in a single Bundesliga game last season. The most eye-catching aspect of Kolašinac is his physical side of his game. He’s well-built with decent speed and strength, in combination with his intelligence, positioning and knack of dealing with 1v1 situations. His attacking contribution has improved drastically, providing 3 goals and 9 assists in all competitions, his most notable was against Mainz where he intercepted the ball in his own half and made a bursting run through the left flank, combining with Burgstaller and afterwards calmly placing the ball in the bottom right corner.
His main weakness is agility, but that isn’t a major issue because of his other qualities. His temperament has been questioned on occasions; he will come out with reckless tackles and he has struggled with minor injuries throughout his career, however he has managed 30+ appearances in 3/5 seasons.
Kolašinac’s versatility is a bonus as he’s capable of playing man roles LB/LWB/LCB and even as a DM if needed, Kolašinac’s style will be very appealing to Wenger. His defensive work and reluctance to shy away from a tackle will add steel to the Arsenal backline and will be great competition for Monreal. There is a reason why the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Juventus were heavily linked with him.
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