Arsenal have confirmed the signing of Sead Kolasinac on a free transfer from Schalke.
The Bosnian left-back’s contract with the German club ran out in the summer, and Arsenal were swift in their dealings, fighting off some fierce competition to secure his signature.
The defender, who was born in Germany and has a German passport, represented the country of his birth at Under 18 and Under 20 levels before deciding to switch his allegiance to Bosnia.
Kolasinac, who is primarily a left-back but can also play as a defensive midfielder and a center-back, made 121 appearances for Schalke. He scored 4 goals in those appearances, and his total of 5 assists in the Bundesliga last season was the highest of any defender in the competition, alongside Markus Suttner of Ingolstadt.
The 23-year-old is hardly an unknown commodity – the number of elite clubs that fought for his signature is testament to that. Chelsea tried and failed with a bid in January, while Manchester City, Liverpool, Everton, Juventus, and AC Milan were also said to have been among the clubs interested in signing him. In the end, Arsenal won the race for him, having initiated contact in April.
Speaking in his first interview as a Gunner, Kolasinac said: “It feels really good and I’m pleased to be here. I’m happy to have signed at Arsenal for five years and I’m really pleased.
“Arsenal has a huge tradition and I followed the club as a young boy, in the days of Jens Lehmann and Thierry Henry. Arsenal has always been a club that is well recognised in Europe and I’m pleased to be here.
“Jens Lehmann played at Schalke too, which is where I’ve come from. As a young kid, I followed his career and I always thought he was a good goalkeeper. I’ve been able to meet him and looking back, he was a really good goalkeeper.
“I think my main strength is my mentality. I’m a player who will try to help the team as well as I can. My strengths are my mentality. There are different positions but I think left back is where I feel most comfortable. I can play as part of a three at the back too or further forward. I’m really flexible.”
Kolasinac will meet up with his new teammates on the 1st of July, when the club begins its pre-season training.
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