Arsenal are reportedly convinced they have won the race to sign Schalke left-back Sead Kolasinac and have told him manager Arsene Wenger will still be in charge next season.
According to Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail, the Gunners believe they have beaten Chelsea to the 23-year-old Bosnian and will sign him for free in the summer on a four-year deal to replace Nacho Monreal as first-choice left-back.
Mokbel added that assurances about Wenger still being in charge have played a key role in convincing Kolasinac to sign amid increasing speculation about the French manager’s future.
With Arsenal struggling to make the Premier League’s top four this season there have been ongoing rumours Wenger could depart, per Sky Sports’ Bryan Swanson.
However, it seems he is making plans for next term and Kolasinac would be a good addition to Arsenal’s squad.
Per BT Sport Football’s Raphael Honigstein, the German-born Bosnia and Herzegovina international would be an upgrade on Arsenal’s current options at left-back, while he is also able to cover the centre-back role:
BT Sport Football @btsportfootball
Are Arsenal closing in on Sead Kolasinac?
@honigstein addresses reports linking the Schalke man with #PL. #BTEFS https://t.co/w8eNHgZPZl
4/16/2017, 6:48:06 PM
An enterprising modern full-back, Kolasinac is both very solid defensively and an attacking menace—he has netted three Bundesliga goals and provided five assists in 21 appearances this season, per WhoScored.com.
His arrival would likely see current back-up left-back Kieran Gibbs’s role at the Emirates Stadium limited even further, with the Englishman having only started three Premier League games in 2016-17 behind Monreal.
Boris Streubel/Getty Images
Per Mokbel, despite also being assured Wenger will stay on, talks with Gibbs over a new contract could potentially stall given his future prospects at Arsenal.
Gibbs, 27, is only contracted to Arsenal to 2018, and given his prospects of ever being a regular starter again are slimming, it would be little surprise should he look to pursue his career elsewhere.