With plenty of talk surrounding big money signings such as Alexandre Lacazette, Kylian Mbappe, and James Rodriguez, it would appear that Arsene Wenger is also looking to the future if rumours surrounding Russia’s next big talent are true.
Aleksandr Golovin appeared to be on his way to Chelsea a few months ago, but it seems the Blues put the deal on the backburner, and Arsenal have now stolen a march.
A £10 million deal with an immediate loan move being mooted, with a return to CSKA Moscow, or a temporary move to Hull City, now managed by former Russian national team boss Leonid Slutsky, both viable options.
But what kind of player will Arsenal be getting?
21-year-old Golovin has been with CSKA Moscow since 2012, making his first team debut in 2015. Since then, he has gone on to become a regular for the capital outfit, making 37 appearances across all competitions in 2016/17, scoring three goals and assisting a further four.
Golovin is a versatile player, lining up as a central midfielder for most of this season, but is capable of operating on either wing, as an attacking midfielder or even a defensive midfielder in front of the back four.
A standout aspect of the Russian’s game is his attacking mindset. Even when picking up the ball in deep positions, his first thought is to attack the opposition and cause danger with his direct running. Blessed with a good turn of pace and quick feet, Golovin beats players with ease, even in tight situations. He also has no fear in this regard, often choosing to dribble his way out of difficult situations in his own half. He also possesses a good range of passing and knows when to release the ball despite the quality he has with it at his feet.
However, a mix of these qualities and his youthful naivety makes his weaknesses noticeable. Golovin often chooses to turn inside or into difficult situations when a much easier pass is on, a tendency that could cause his team major problems if defending, or see a move break down in an attacking situation. This is something he can work on though, and mistakes are often the best way to learn for a young player.
Because of his play style, versatility, and small build, he reminds me a lot of Santi Cazorla, a consistent and reliable player when available. If Golovin can find similar consistency and reliability he could become a very good player. If Golovin can find similar consistency and reliability he could become a very good player.
His small build and lack of physical strength could see him struggle to adapt to the English game, so a loan spell with Hull City would be useful.
The 21-year-old could make an immediate impact if Arsene Wenger chooses to throw him in at the deep end, but it’s difficult to say how well he’d do. Andrei Arshavin and Aleksandr Hleb are two players who have made an immediate impact in North London having arrived from Russia, and Golovin would hope to follow in their footsteps.
Whether this deal actually happens is yet to be seen but, the Russian could be a good longer term addition, and at just £10 million, it’s a relatively low-risk investment.
Would you like to see Aleksandr Golovin join Arsenal?