That’s according to reports in Italy cited by Rosa Doro of Tuttomercatoweb, that have suggested the Gunners are still on the player’s mind. As much has been confirmed by his agent, who is quoted as having said “he would be proper for Arsenal, of course.”
Additionally, according to Russian outlet Sport Express (h/t Chris Borg of ESPN FC), Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has been keeping an eye on the player during the ongoing 2016 UEFA European Championship. Kokorin moved to Zenit from Dynamo Moscow in January; his former coach Andrey Kobelev revealed the Gunners were interested in January.
While Kokorin has failed to light up the Euros in what is a poor Russia team, he’s shown enough on the domestic front to suggest he could be a useful acquisition. Here is a look at what he is capable of:
The 25-year-old was tipped to be a bright star of the future in his younger days, but things have never quite aligned for Kokorin.
The attributes are there. He’s a willing worker, a player who’s strong in the air and someone who can bring others into the game with his neat interplay.
As noted by the OptaJoe Twitter feed, goalscoring was a problem for Arsenal last season, especially when teams sought to stifle them at the Emirates Stadium:
1.5 - Arsenal have averaged 1.5 goals/game at home this season in the Premier League - their lowest return since 1994-95 (1.3). Misfire.2016-5-13 07:51:36
Kokorin wouldn’t be the goalscorer the club’s supporters have long been craving, though. While he gets into good positions, the Russian is not a natural finisher; the most goals he’s ever scored in a domestic season is 10. The Zenit man hasn’t exactly shone against strong opposition at the Euros either.
For the player himself some consistency in terms of his club is important. To depart Zenit so soon after joining would not necessarily be healthy for him.
Arsenal Have Elseid Hysaj Edge
The Gunners reportedly have the advantage because they have bid £14 million for the Albania international. The 22-year-old emerged as an exciting talent in Serie A last season and has shone for his country at Euro 2016.
Here is a look at what he could bring to this Arsenal team:
Hysaj was a key part of the Napoli team in 2015-16, playing 37 of their 38 games in the league. Primarily a right-back, he can also fill in on the left flank when required.
Sports writer Jonas Giaever has been impressed by the way in which the Albania man has performed on the big stage so far:
Jonas Giæver @CheGiaevara
Elseid Hysaj has been out of this world for Albania thus far in this game. Has shut down France's left and keeps threating with runs/crosses2016-6-15 20:11:15
Arsenal already have one of the best full-backs in the Premier League at right-back in Hector Bellerin, but back-up for the Spain international isn’t to the highest standard. Mathieu Debuchy’s future at the club is unclear after he was loaned out in January, while Calum Chambers is naturally a central defender.
Hysaj would likely jump at the chance to play for any of the teams mentioned should Napoli opt to move him on. The reported £14 million offer may seem a lot for a player who’s still making his way in the game at the top level, but from an Arsenal perspective he’d provide fine cover to both full-back spots and stiff competition for Bellerin too.