Leandro Trossard move: why Arsenal switched from youth policy and how he would fit into the team

In some ways, Arsenal would be a surprising destination for Leandro Trossard. Mikel Arteta’s project is largely built around youth and potential.

Trossard does not fit the profile: the Belgian international turned 28 in December. He is already a well-known great in the Premier League.

For Arsenal, that’s part of the appeal on this occasion.

In any hiring strategy, there are two factors that drive the business: an overarching philosophy and the reality of short-term requirements. An asset like Trossard would exist outside the club’s normal recruiting parameters, but this is no ordinary season. Arsenal are fighting for a title and their key decision-makers agree on the belief that reinforcements are needed.

Arsenal would have loved to bring in a marquee team like Mykhailo Mudryk – someone who had both an immediate impact and fit the long-term plan. After seeing the 22-year-old finish at Chelsea, they have acted quickly – and pragmatically – to identify Trossard as Plan B.

Some might say it doesn’t fit the strategy – Arsenal will see it as a show of flexibility. It is important to have principles, but not at the expense of results. Not at the expense of a title.

The benefits of Trossard are clear. He is a player Arteta and his staff know well. Assistant coach Albert Stuivenberg was his manager at Genk in 2017 and has allayed some concerns about this attitude following recent comments from Brighton head coach Roberto De Zerbi.

Arsenal have previously shown they value Premier League experience. Until recently, Trossard has been one of Brighton’s key players, with seven goals and two assists in 16 league appearances this season. As someone who has played in a similar tactical system, he should need little adjustment. He is used to a stubborn, pressing style.

He is also versatile. Although he has primarily played from the left, he is very two-legged, potentially allowing him to operate from either flank. Brighton have also deployed him through the centre, either as a quasi-striker or in a more withdrawn role. With Gabriel Jesus sidelined with an injury sustained during the World Cup with Brazil, that ability to play through the middle could give Eddie Nketiah some respite from time to time.

It wouldn’t be as exciting to sign as the €100 million (£87.4 million; $108.2 million) Mudryk – a younger player who arrives with a lot of untapped potential. However, after missing the 22-year-old Ukrainian, a deal for Trossard seems sensible.

After initially being offered the chance to sign the 24-cap Belgium international earlier in the window, Arsenal have taken decisive steps to agree a fee of £21m with Brighton with a further £6m in possible add -us.

Brighton have an option for an additional year on Trossard’s contract, which would extend it until the summer of 2024. Arsenal have come close to meeting the asking price – their negotiating position had been weakened by the fact that they had effectively shown their hand with the bid for muddy. In this case, they have chosen to act quickly rather than haggle.

Brighton’s stance in the negotiations was bolstered by the fact that part of the profits they receive, believed to be around 15 per cent, will go to Genk – Trossard’s previous club in his home country.

Arsenal are preparing to offer Trossard a long-term contract, but both sides see the short-term benefits. Arsenal would get a ready-made Premier League player who can immediately provide competition and cover in attack. At 28, Trossard is also in a rush to compete for major honours. Joining Arsenal would see him parachute straight into a title race and even if they fail to lift the trophy in May, there is a chance of Champions League football next season.

Crucially, signing Trossard would not seriously hamper Arsenal’s spending potential when it comes to their long-term plans. Planning for the summer is already underway, with the club making a joint bid to sign West Ham United and England midfielder Declan Rice.

It also leaves open the possibility of further strengthening before the winter period closes on Jan. 31.

Like the ultimately doomed pursuit of Joao Felix, who eventually joined Chelsea on loan from Atletico Madrid, this is a deal Arsenal thought they could close relatively quickly. Should that prove to be the case, it will give them some time to explore other options. Manager Arteta has stressed internally and in the media the importance of Arsenal maximizing each transfer window. While the club acknowledges the difficulty of the January market, their efforts to strengthen the squad are expected to continue.

So far in 2022-23, Arsenal have shown on the pitch that they have learned from the end of last season. Perhaps their attempts to sign Trossard are an indication that they are also learning off the field. After failing to land their key targets a year ago, they opted to end the January period without signing — a decision that cost them dearly in the run-up.

Trossard would not be the dream signing of many Arsenal supporters, but the club believes he can help them achieve their dream of the title.


What happened to Trossard since the World Cup?

Trossard’s dispute with Brighton is rooted in the negativity stemming from a frustrating World Cup with Belgium.

He went to Qatar in a good mood. He had scored six goals in Brighton’s last nine games before the tournament started. He had also established himself as a regular and emerging member of Roberto Martinez’s side, with five goals and three assists in 22 caps, mainly coming on as a substitute. He was often captain Eden Hazard’s mid-game substitute.

The 2022 World Cup was supposed to give Trossard the chance to showcase his talents for a big move that, at the age of 28 and with his partner about to give birth to their second child, would set him financially for life. Brighton have a one-year option on Trossard’s contract, which expires in the summer, but rejected their attempts to commit him to a new contract. Qatar would become his podium.

However, things did not go according to plan.

He only played the last 28 minutes of the first 1-0 win over Canada and the last 16 of the 2-0 defeat to Morocco in the second game, replacing Hazard in the first of those games and the brother of the Real Madrid attacker, Thorgan. in the other. There was a start in the group final against Croatia, but he made little impact and was withdrawn after 59 minutes as a 0–0 draw saw Belgium’s aging side drop out of the tournament early.


Trossard in action for Belgium against Croatia at the World Cup in Qatar (Image: Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Trossard has never been disruptive in the Brighton dressing room, but his general demeanor and body language clearly become dejected in the face of adversity.

He returned to club duty in a dismal mood after the World Cup and made lackluster performances as a substitute in Brighton’s exit from the Carabao Cup on penalties at League One side Charlton Athletic and, when operating as a false nine, in the 3 -1 win. at Southampton and, on New Year’s Eve, a 4-2 home defeat to Arsenal. De Zerbi replaced him in that defeat after an hour, after which the visitors were 3-0 ahead. Brighton’s relative resurgence in what remained of the game was boosted in his absence.

He has not been seen since then.

Trossard was an unused substitute in the 4–1 win over Everton three days later, then was knocked out altogether in the 5–1 win over Championship side Middlesbrough in the FA Cup third round.

De Zerbi said the striker, who is suffering from a calf injury, needed to show 100 per cent effort to get back into the team. That was followed by claim and counterclaim as to why he was left out, all played out in public.

Revealing that Trossard would also not be present at Liverpool’s visit to the Amex Stadium last Saturday, De Zerbi said Trossard had left a training session before Middlesbrough’s match without permission. The player’s agent, Josy Comhair, duly released a statement insisting he had left that session due to the injury and that De Zerbi had not spoken to him since his client had had a minor ‘quarrel’ with an unnamed teammate.

Comhair appealed to Brighton to facilitate a transfer this month and Trossard were back home in Belgium, with De Zerbi’s permission, as they beat Liverpool 3-0, taking their tally without him to 14 goals in just over three matches.

He has since returned to Brighton and trained with the first team on Tuesday, suggesting the frosty relationship with De Zerbi may have thawed.


What does Trossard offer on the pitch?

Few Premier League players have improved their reputation in the first half of this season as much as Trossard.

In October, the Belgian became the first visiting player since Andrey Arshavin for Arsenal in 2009 to score a league hat-trick at Anfield – part of a streak of seven goals in 10 games.

Now in his fourth season at Brighton, Trossard has spent roughly the same amount of time playing up front, as a central attacking midfielder and stationed on the left flank. His tally of 25 goals in a team that – until the arrival of De Zerbi in September to replace Graham Potter, who left to manage Chelsea – often struggled to convert their creative play into attacking output is fair and Trossard is just one goal away from Neal Maupay and Glenn Murray as their all-time top goalscorer in the Premier League.

His tally of four long-range goals is a Premier League record for Brighton, although all seven of his goals in 2022/23 came from the penalty area, serving as testament to how Trossard has been used more and more this season.

With Trossard’s expected goals per 90 minutes of 0.30 this season, he sits alongside the likes of Son Heung-min, Phil Foden and Wilfried Zaha. has still scored more Premier League goals at Anfield than Mohamed Salah this season.


What about interest from other teams?

There has been competition. Tottenham Hotspur were one of two Premier League clubs – an overseas-based team were also investigating – exploring the possibility of signing the Belgian before Arsenal announced their interest.

The athletic revealed on Monday how Spurs had shown their hand following an executive-level verbal offer of around £12 million. That fell well short of Brighton’s valuation.

Trossard turned 28 during the World Cup and has entered the last six months of his deal with the Amex. Factors that could limit the fee he could ask for, but in fact he still has a contract until the end of next season as Brighton can cause that. one-year option. They will claim he represents a proven Premier League pedigree, with 116 league appearances and 38 goals (25 goals, 13 assists) since his £13 million arrival from Genk in the summer of 2019.


Trossard celebrates after scoring for Tottenham Hotspur last season (Image: Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Newcastle, whose recruitment is overseen by former Brighton technical director Dan Ashworth, had discussed the benefits of a bid for him over the summer.

However, their priorities have shifted this month with the focus on a midfielder as a priority.

Other Contributor: Duncan Alexander

(Top photo: Getty Images; design: Rachel Orr)

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