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Trossard! or Dross-ard… 

My thoughts on Arsenal’s latest signing while we wait for the club to announce him.

News broke this morning that Arsenal were making a decisive move for Brighton’s Leandro Trossard. After initial contact was made on Wednesday, the deal was settled within 24 hours, proving Arsenal have the ability to close a deal quickly when push comes to shove. 

Some may feel content with missing out on Mudryk due to the exorbitant price point, but it seems clear in the aftermath that Arsenal were willing to match the total fee — not the structure — which suggest they were seriously convinced of his talent. Losing out on him in the fashion in which they did most definitely came as a blow, and in the fallout, Edu and Arsenal will have had to find composure. Arsenal had a lot of eggs in the Mudryk basket and there has been suggestion that having a “plan B” was a little more of an after thought.

BUT! When top priority signings fall through unexpectedly, pragmatic minds must prevail.

Pragmatic feels like the right word for Arsenal’s rebound, £21m + £6m in add ons signing of the Brighton man who had 6 months, plus a club option for 12 more, on his contract. According to Fabrizio Romano, Trossard agreed to a 4 year deal, and Sam Mokbel reports his wages will be roughly 90,000 per week.

Some may feel this fee is a little high, and they are probably right that Arsenal could have negotiated it down, but it would have taken just that — negotiations. Likely long ones. Which is something to keep in mind when considering all transfers Arsenal attempt to complete.

But a few components in play explain why a deal could be struck so quickly:

  • Trossard hasn’t played for Brighton since playing against Arsenal back in December – missing 3 games
  • A fallout between him and coach De Zerbi certainly lead to him pushing for a move and the club’s willingness to part ways
  • His contract situation, in conjunction with the two factors above means Brighton were likely to take a good offer in January or the summer.
  • Arsenal paid an amount higher than they probably could have negotiated for over the coming weeks to complete quickly

I think it’s fair to assume price played a big role in Arsenal’s willingness to seal the deal as well. At 28 years old, Trossard will be the oldest signing in a few windows for the Gunners, but the attacking player is still tied for most goals at Brighton this year, despite missing the last 3 matches. Arsenal fans that get hung up on the fact that his age profile doesn’t fit the project will likely have to accept that this particular signing was aimed at bringing in an effective talent to help in the immediate future, being able to hit the ground running fast, and having an age that at least doesn’t suggest an impending cliff. 

Trossard checks those three boxes and as long the club don’t find themselves breaking the project’s mold frequently, or to the tune of significant investment, things should remain on course.

Things to Like About This Signing

  •  Good on the wings – both wings – and even capable centrally to provide depth across Arsenal’s front three
  • As a player, he likes to tuck in to half spaces as a winger — not the same as Saka but not totally unlike him or Gabi
  • Has proven he can create and score within the Premier League
  • His Premier League success comes in a possession-based side
  • His fee is moderate and allow Arsenal to invest further this window or dedicate serious funds to the summer if they choose
Source: FBRef.com

Trossard has been a ball magnet for Brighton in the attacking third which bodes well for an Arsenal side that wants to dominate those spaces. And I can overlook some lower numbers abouve when contextualizing that he was playing in a side that is punching above its weight.

But the percentiles also show why he is truly a depth signing.

Things to Dislike or Cause Hesitation

  • He is not the same ilk as our other wingers in my opinion. He’s more like a wide attacking midfielder than a pacy winger thats going to run at defenses like Gabi or Saka or ESR, but that doesn’t mean he can nor has it stopped him from creating goals
  • Arsenal have signed a true backup here versus their recent success when signing players to compete with starters. Nothing says Troassard can’t compete for a starting role but it’s unlikely and sometimes when players become resigned to a backup role, their edge diminishes
  • It’s never great when a new signing that was leading his team in goals still had a falling out with their manager that sealed their move. Usually production covers a lot of wounds in sport, but it seems like Trossard did not appreciate De Zerbi’s big personality…. Well, Mikel has one too and Trossard is likely to be a backup playing few minutes which can cause frustration from players. This is not to say there WILL be a problem, but something to maybe keep an eye on
  • Trossard recently suffered a calf injury. Tough to say how much to make of this as it came around the peak of his fallout but a player coming in with a calf injury is a player that potentially re-injures their calf. Arsenal really can’t afford their depth signings to be injured

My Thoughts Overall

I have to say, this is a move that I really like. While it’s not the marquee, star prospect that many will have dreamed of at the start of the window, I believe this to be a really intelligent pivot. The price is right, the wages are right, his age is older than the project but still 28 and in his prime, and the player himself feels like a versatile — to use an Arteta buzzword — man of many skills. He isn’t breaking the bank should Arsenal want to inject more cash into the title charge and he offers depth across the entire front three — specializing in operating on both wings. 

Given Trossard’s profile as a player that is a little more wide attacking midfielder than winger forward, Arsenal have a player that likes to involve himself in many phases of play. He likes to come deep, he likes to make himself available, and he likes to be a ball magnet in the final third that can make things happen. Unlike names like Zaha, and even Mudryk to an extent, Trossard has played in a possession-based side that looks to control the ball and be choosy about their transition opportunities which should allow him to hit the ground running without disrupting the team-play around him. 

Mix this with a player whose natural intent as a signing is to provide depth, rotation, and options for Arteta and Arsenal — Trossard should fit into his new uniform pretty comfortably. 

As I said earlier in the blog, this diversion from the recruitment profile we have become accustomed to may raise eyebrows but is hardly a problem. Fortunately this isn’t project-altering money which means Arsenal should remain agile come Summer window or even later this window.

Additionally, given Trossard’s age, experience, and pretty solidified role as a backup — Arsenal find themselves with the ability to kick the “winger depth” can down the road, if they so choose. Trossard won’t end the search for serious talent, and if a prospect emerges I won’t be surprised to see Arsenal chase after it, but they also don’t need to purchase in the wings further if they don’t want to. By signing Trossard — and not spending £88m on him — they could keep their pennies and save for that larger investment elsewhere on the pitch. We heard rumors and suggestions that Arsenal intend to be in the mix for the signing of Declan Rice, a player that will certainly cost a pretty penny, and this could help entice the club to going above and beyond to seal that deal.

Despite the deal coming together in a single day, the thought process from the club surrounding Trossard feels as though it really checks out. And, if we are never going to be a club that can blow £400m in a season, we as fans can at least expect the club’s signings to demonstrate a clear vision from leadership.

No one can promise this deal ensures Arsenal win a Premier League title, nor that the club is done with January business, but overall I think this is an intelligent, pragmatic response to wanting to support the team’s charge after losing Mudryk.

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