Arsenal land Leandro Trossard: Brighton star to finalize £27 million transfer ahead of Manchester United game

Arsenal are set to secure Brighton forward Leandro Trossard as the Gunners aim to give Mikel Arteta the firepower to win the Premier League title. After opening talks with Brighton on Thursday morning, Arsenal quickly agreed a deal worth an initial £21m for the Belgium international with further additions worth up to £5m included. Trossard is set to undergo his medical in north London in the coming hours before putting pen to paper on a contract. Arsenal are aiming to complete all the formalities before midday on Friday, which would allow him to be registered in the matchday squad against Manchester United on Sunday, although club insiders regard it as unlikely that they will manage to do so.

Tottenham were also interested in Trossard, but Arsenal quickly moved for the forward, scorer of seven goals in 16 Premier League games this season, after missing out on Mykhaylo Mudryk, who went to Chelsea. Arteta is eager to strengthen his attack as his side look to maintain their eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League, and in Trossard they would be securing a ready-made addition with experience in the English game who is eager to get going.

Last week, Trossard’s agent Josie Comhair accused Brighton head coach Roberto de Zerbi of humiliating his client, claiming the boss had stopped talking to him four weeks earlier after an incident at training.

“It is also the manager who has indicated several times that a transfer is the most convenient solution,” Comhair added. “It is therefore important that Brighton cooperates with a potential transfer during this transfer period and shows a benevolent attitude, which is beneficial for both parties.”

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Arsenal have long been admirers of Trossard, who was on their shortlist of targets in the summer of 2019 when they finally opted to sign Nicolas Pepe for a club record £72million.

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Trossard is exactly what Arsenal need

After missing out on Mudryk, Arsenal have adapted to their circumstances, this remarkable scenario beyond all but the wildest of Arteta’s dreams at the start of the season. Mudryk, a 22-year-old of promise and potential, would have been the signing for where the Gunners expected to find themselves: a club building a project for the long term around the best young talent they could get their hands on. Considering that the Ukrainian price ultimately ballooned to nine figures for a player with 50 appearances in the Ukrainian top flight and Champions League, Arsenal may have avoided a costly risk.

Anyway, Arsenal aren’t just built for the long term right now. Even with half of the Premier League season to go, the prize is within reach. A team that embarked on the second fastest run of any club in the division’s history has earned an eight-point cushion at the top of the table. They are suddenly the title favourites. This is a move from a team that is intent on seizing the opportunity.

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By most measures, Trossard is a productive Premier League player, one who averages a solid 0.29 non-penalty expected goals (npxG) per 90 minutes, a top 40 mark in the division. Per FBref, his combined npxg and expected assists is 0.45 per 90, on par with James Maddison and Julian Alvarez, just behind Gabriel Martinelli’s. Those are solid numbers, a slight uptick on last season (when he registered 0.39), but with little to suggest they’re anything other than representative of a forward playing on a better team.

Off the ball, he fits the energetic disruption that Arteta expects from his forward. Only three players have regained possession in the final third more often than Trossard this season, in years gone by his combined tackles and interceptions made for impressive reading too.

No-one would reasonably expect Trossard to come in and start regularly for Arsenal – if he does it could be very right for him to overhaul Martinelli or Bukayo Saka – but he is as plug and play as they come, a player who is used to The English game and who has played in a Brighton side that aspires to control games in the same way the Gunners do.

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Before falling out with De Zerbi, Trossard mostly played as a center forward although he operated on the left flank for most of his Brighton career. This may appear to be one of the spots in Arsenal’s squad where they have the necessary depth but adding another body behind Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe New avenues are opening up for Arteta. Notably, CBS Sports has already said that in the preseason Arsenal intend to try Smith Rowe in one of the central midfield roles that Granit Xhaka and Martin Odegaard Have made their own only for injuries to get in the way. Coaches at London Colney have long viewed the England international’s development endpoint in a more central location, adding Trossard to the left wing depth options in central areas as well.

As with any transfer, this is not without risks. There is a reason Arsenal have favored recruits in their teens and early 20s in recent years. Trossard will almost certainly have little seller value and the most likely scenario is that his new club will find itself on the hook for his post-prime years. It is perhaps why he makes little sense for Tottenham if they have a future of Harry Kane and Heung-min Son in their considerations. But for Arsenal, all the downside can be set against one simple question – what value could four or five goals have between now and the end of May?


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