Arsenal Transfer News: Aleksandr Kokorin, Elseid Hysaj, Latest Gunners Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJune 20, 2016

Russia's Alexander Kokorin drives the ball during the friendly football match between Serbia and Russia on June 5, 2016 at the Louis II Stadium in Monaco.   / AFP / VALERY HACHE        (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
VALERY HACHE/Getty Images

Zenit St. Petersburg striker Aleksandr Kokorin is said to be keen on a move to Arsenal, who are reportedly still keeping tabs on the player, despite him only moving clubs six months ago.

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. 

Wenger needs to add a striker to his squad.
Wenger needs to add a striker to his squad.Clive Mason/Getty Images

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:

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

MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 15:  Elseid Hysaj of Albania looks dejected following defeat during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group A match between France and Albania at Stade Velodrome on June 15, 2016 in Marseille, France.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

According to Le 10 Sport (h/t Alessandra Stefanelli of Tuttomercatoweb), Arsenal have the edge on Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in pursuit of Napoli full-back Elseid Hysaj.

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:

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.