According to A Bola (h/t George Bellshaw of Metro), the Gunners are keen on the Ukraine international, with a reported asking price set of £20.5 million for the player. It’s noted in the piece that Chelsea and Everton also want to bring the 26-year-old to the Premier League, but Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund lead the race.
Yarmolenko has been hugely impressive in the Ukrainian top flight for a while now, but he has never taken the plunge and joined a top European side. Here’s what he can offer:
There’s no doubt he’d bring something a little different to the north London giants. Tall, elegant and left-footed, Yarmolenko is a very awkward customer for defenders to cope with on the right flank. Watching him at full flight is a sight to behold, and in recent seasons, he’s made massive improvements in terms of end product.
As WhoScored.com note here, his goal return this season has been very impressive from a position on the right flank:
Andriy Yarmolenko: Has scored 13 goals in 22 appearances for Dynamo Kyiv this season pic.twitter.com/4fD5v0HoXM— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) January 11, 2016
The right wing is a spot of minor concern for the Gunners. In Wenger’s best XI, Aaron Ramsey has typically been stationed in that role, and although he’s not a natural fit, he’s done a fine job. By contrast, it’s a position in which Yarmolenko excels, and he’d potentially add another direct edge to Arsenal’s attacking play.
Still, for the Gunners, it’s not an area where they need to strengthen immediately. The signing of Mohamed Elneny has helped bolster a midfield that can look a little lightweight at times, but at the point of the attack, aside from Olivier Giroud, Wenger has a scarcity of natural centre-forwards.
Sadly for those Arsenal fans hoping for a late swoop for a striker in the January market, that seems unlikely at this juncture. According to Wenger, the main focus is on trying to get Danny Welbeck, who has yet to feature this season, back to full fitness, per Peter Hanson of Goal:
Ideally, personally, I would prefer to have the players back from injuries [rather than go back into the market]. Welbeck, for example, who has been out since April last year, is now two or three weeks away. I am confident I won't find a better player than Welbeck on the market. I prefer to have the injured players back with everyone available.
At the moment, Giroud doesn’t deserve to be dislodged from the position up front, as he’s performing magnificently and proving to be a great foil for the likes of Mesut Ozil and Ramsey. So far this season, he’s scored an impressive 12 goals in the Premier League—the latest two coming in a pulsating 3-3 draw against Liverpool at Anfield.
As former England international striker Gary Lineker notes here, given what he offers this Arsenal team, Giroud is underappreciated:
Olivier Giroud is an extremely underrated player. His intelligent movement and finishing are exceptional. He'll always score plenty of goals— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) January 13, 2016
But even as Arsenal sit pretty at the top of the pile, you feel as though they’re just one superb attacker short of being the real deal. Yarmolenko’s capture could allow a player like Theo Walcott to focus more on becoming a centre-forward, while giving the Gunners a natural, skilful and physical threat on the flanks.
Still, it seems unlikely the Gunners will part with this kind of money in January, especially on a position where they have options already. Wenger typically brings in cheaper, lesser known players—like Elneny—at this stage of the campaign, saving any marquee acquisitions for the summer months.