Last month, Bosnian full-back Saed Kolasinac became Arsenal’s first signing of the summer, joining on a free transfer from German club Schalke. The 23-year-old has spent the best part of five years in the first team in Gelsenkirchen, but opted against staying there to try a new challenge in the Premier League.
A full international, Saed Kolasinac represented Bosnia in their maiden World Cup appearance in Brazil in 2014. In total, he played 119 games for Schalke prior to his move in June, when he agreed a long term deal to challenge Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs for a place on the Gunners’ left hand side.
Fantasy Football Potential
Saed Kolasinac is an interesting proposition. Named in the Bundesliga Team of the Season, he will expect to go straight into Arsene Wenger’s lineup when August rolls around. If the boss continues with the 5-2-2-1 wing backs formation that saw his side claim FA Cup glory in May, Kolasinac will be the perfect fit to be the man on the left of that five. Should Wenger revert to 4-3-3, cult hero Monreal may have something to say about the new man taking his spot on the left.
In all likelihood, Wenger will remain loyal to the formation that improved the team towards the back end of last season. This way, Monreal can slot in as the left sided centre back – a role in which he excelled in at Wembley – and Kolasinac can bomb up and down next to him, offering a little more energy than the Spaniard.
With three goals and seven assists last term, it’s clear that the Bosnian is not afraid of a foray up the field. He boasts a fantastic work rate which allows him to get up and back, he’s not afraid of putting in a challenge and his pretty good when contesting aerial duels. He’s six foot tall and of a stocky build – vastly different from Monreal – with the power and physical presence which will likely see him thrive in England’s top flight.
Though predominantly a full-back or wing-back, Kolasinac has also played for Schalke further up as a wide midfielder but also in central midfield too. It’s unlikely that Arsenal will require him to play in either of those positions, however they’re options for Wenger if needed.
I expect to see him start the season at around the £5.5-6m price range, such is his tendency to get forward. His potential for attacking returns, coupled with the fact that Arsenal will want to build on their improved defensive performance from the back end of the campaign should see him priced in that bracket. Like Hector Bellerin on the other side, he could prove to be a popular selection as the season goes on, especially if he notches an early attacking return.
Arsenal have a pretty tough start to the season, with games against Liverpool and Chelsea early on, as well as a trip to Stoke City before the end of August. It is expected that Kolasinac will play a role from the off, though Wenger’s choice of formation throughout pre-season will be interesting to watch before you decide whether to plump for the new man or not.
If you have enjoyed this early view of the fantasy potential of those moving teams this transfer window, be sure to check the others here.
Written by Joe McPhee (@JPMc99)