Why Arsenal are willing to pay £35m to sign Oleksandr Zinchenko amid questions over fee

Arsenal have moved quickly to close a deal for Oleksandr Zinchenko but his £35m price tag has raised plenty of questions

Arsenal are closing in on a move for Oleksandr Zinchenko from Manchester City. The price tag is expected to be in the region of £35 million, earning Pep Guardiola’s side a serious profit having signed the Ukrainian for £1.7m from Russian side Ufa in 2015.

Both Arsenal and Manchester City have not agreed on the deal yet according to Charles Watts, however, there is a ‘growing belief’ an agreement will be struck. Zinchenko would join Mikel Arteta, who he worked with when the Spaniard was an assistant coach with Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium.

The fee may come as a surprise to many considering Zinchenko is not a regular starter in Guardiola’s squad. However, when looking deeper into the context of the move, the price tag does make sense.

Firstly, City are under no pressure to sell, nor does Zinchenko have a burning desire to leave. It is said the 25-year-old is open to a move but having been close to potential exits in the past, has never pushed to depart.

City’s record at selling has been very strong due to their financially stable position. The club has already made over £100 million this summer thanks to the sales of Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling, Pedro Porro and Ko Itakura.

They managed to make a profit on Jesus this summer, adding to the likes of Ferran Torres, Jack Harrison, Leroy Sane, Danilo, Angelino and Douglas Luiz to name a few. They’ve also sold their youth products well, such as Lukas Nmecha, Angus Gunn, Jason Denayer, Pablo Maffeo and Kelechi Iheanacho.

Comparatively, other moves from top Premier League clubs to their league rivals have not been cheap. Neco Williams made the move from Liverpool to Nottingham Forest for a staggering £16 million.

For me, Arsenal would easily be getting double the player Williams is in Zinchenko. Not only in quality but versatility. He plays so comfortably at both inverted full-back and in midfield that he switches between the two for club and country.

Arsenal were willing to go big on Lisandro Martinez of Ajax, Man City would have been more than aware of the budget the Gunners had for the position. Eventually, Ajax priced Arsenal out of a move and Manchester United will end up paying in excess of £50 million for the Argentine.

Yet this deal represents the flexibility to pivot away from a target that becomes inaccessible swiftly and move for another target of comparable quality. Something which the club failed to do in January earlier this year.

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