Of all the things I thought June might bring for Arsenal, the announcement of our first summer signing in Sead Kolasinac was so far down the list as to be microscopic.
It is a rare occasion indeed, almost unprecedented in fact, for Arsenal to get a decent piece of business done so early in the summer, and scarcely a few weeks after the end of the regular season.
Of course, this was a transfer that was rumoured to have been signed and sealed as far back as March but it was refreshing indeed to have it confirmed and announced by the club with planes jetting the players off on their holidays barely having left the tarmac.
The fact that Sead, a 23-year-old left back, was pinned down so early and arrived on a free transfer only sweetens the deal and, please god, sets the tone for a decisive summer of stellar business in the transfer market.
Perhaps it was the fact that no money had to change hands between clubs that made this transfer so expeditious. All we have to do now is find a cache of out-of-contract, world class talents and we are set! Or perhaps not.
Arsene Wenger has already said that he expects a maximum of three players in through the door this summer so, with one down, that leaves just the two targets for him and Dick Law – our negotiator in chief – to wrap up.
Being the fastidious planner and plotter he is, you would expect that the Frenchman already knows who he wants to buy and that discussions to make those signings a reality are already being had.
Rumours abound of moves for Monaco’s Kylian Mbappe and Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette and both would be excellent candidates for the club, if the rumours are true. And with no money having been spent so far, perhaps that frees up cash for a monster bid for one of them. An intriguing prospect indeed.
For now, however, we can bask in having made a positive foray into the market and bolstered our defensive options.
By all accounts, Kolasinac is an excellent operator in defence and has plenty of nous going forward to. According to whoscored.com, the former Schalke man managed three goals and five assists in the Bundesliga last year, along with another two assists in the Europa League – a healthy return for any player in that position.
It seems clear that the Bosnian has been brought in to compete for a first team slot and my guess is that he will go head-to-head with Nacho Monreal – who had an excellent end to the season – for that left wing back slot.
That, by implication, means that opportunities for Kieran Gibbs will be very much restricted, barring an injury crisis (laugh out loud), and so he will more than likely be allowed to leave this summer. Or perhaps he will be content to operate as a utility man in the squad, we will have to wait and see.
Although I suspect most of us didn’t know a great deal about Kolasinac before rumours began emerging in the spring, it seems, by general consensus, to be an astute signing from Arsene, with a healthy amount of praise being lavished on the incoming Bosnian.
To that end, we have to say ‘well done’ to Arsene and acknowledge that a good start has been made. Unlike last year, however, when we dithered after the early singing of Granit Xhaka, now is the time to really kick and get these players in before July has the chance to burn us all to an over-tanned crisp.