In Focus: Terrific Trossard can take Arsenal to the title
Arsenal have moved swiftly to land Leandro Trossard from Brighton and the forward could be key to the Gunners’ title charge.
Mikel Arteta’s top transfer target had been Mykhailo Mudryk but the North Londoners were gazumped by a mammoth offer from Chelsea, eventually missing out on the Ukrainian.
The league leaders were decisive in the pursuit of an alternative, wrapping up a deal for Trossard for a reported £21million, plus an additional £6m in add-ons.
Ahead of Arsenal’s crunch clash with Manchester United, we analyse the qualities their new signing brings to the Emirates.
How it happened
Trossard's falling out with Brighton head coach Roberto De Zerbi turned out to be a particularly timely incident for Arsenal.
His last appearance for the Seagulls actually came in a 4-2 defeat against the Gunners — he did not get off the bench in the subsequent 4-1 win at Everton and was left out entirely for last weekend's 3-0 victory over Liverpool.
As a result, a swift transfer proved a positive outcome for all parties.
The Belgian had resisted efforts to extend his contract at the Amex in the hopes of securing a move to a top side.
His transfer to title-chasing Arsenal, therefore, benefits both the Gunners and the player himself, while also allowing the Seagulls to continue reshaping their team.
Trossard on target
Trossard has enjoyed a prolific first half of the season and his performances turned several suitors’ heads in recent months.
All seven of his Premier League goals this term — from 16 appearances — were netted from open play. Only Erling Haaland and Miguel Almiron can better that tally without the help of penalties or set-pieces.
Additionally, the 24-cap international’s conversion rate when presented with big chances has been encouraging, scoring six of his nine such opportunities.
Arsenal have been no slouches in attack, netting 42 times in just 18 games — but adding further firepower to an already dangerous side is the sign of a team determined not to rest on their laurels.
Arsenal manager Arteta revealed his delight at the club’s capture of the winger.
The Spanish tactician highlighted Trossard’s numerous qualities, including his versatility and experience.
He said: "It is good work from everyone at the club to complete the signing of Leandro. He is a versatile player with high technical ability, intelligence and a great deal of experience in the Premier League and at international level.
"Leandro strengthens our squad as we head into the second part of the season and we're all looking forward to working with him. We welcome Leandro and his family to Arsenal."
Trossard is far more than a luxury signing for Arsenal, though.
Gabriel Jesus suffered an injury at the World Cup with Brazil that has ruled him out for several months and Emile Smith Rowe has only just made a comeback after undergoing groin surgery.
Without both players, Gabriel Martinelli, Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka have been left as the club’s only proven forwards, given Reiss Nelson and Marquinhos remain relatively untested at the highest level.
The Gunners’ 0-0 draw with Newcastle was an example of a game in which Arteta could have used a quality forward option from the bench — but had nobody to turn to.
Trossard’s versatility makes him the ideal solution to this problem.
His capacity to play on either flank, up front or off another striker means that — whether he starts or comes on as a substitute — the Arsenal manager will be able to rotate the ex-Genk attacker with any of his current starting front three.
Leading from the front
An additional benefit to signing Trossard over a more unknown quantity is his familiarity with the demands of operating in a high-pressing system — as well as playing in the Premier League.
The North Londoners' No19 is used to leading from the front on the South Coast, both under Graham Potter and De Zerbi.
Only Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Harrison and new team-mate Martin Odegaard have won possession in the attacking third more often than him (20) in the competition this season.
At 28, Trossard does not fit in with Arteta’s recent recruitment strategy of picking up young talent — but with a title to fight for, there has been a recognition that any winter additions must be able to make an immediate impact.
His experience in the English top flight dramatically increases the chances that he can contribute without needing to adapt to life at the Emirates.