Mikel Arteta relishing prospect of reuniting with 'exceptional' Oleksandr Zinchenko

Mikel Arteta relishing prospect of reuniting with 'exceptional' Oleksandr Zinchenko

Mikel Arteta is relishing working again with the ‘exceptional’ Oleksandr Zinchenko, who the manager believes will give Arsenal a new ‘edge’.

Zinchenko, 25, was in the stands for Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Orlando City on Wednesday night as he closes in on a £32million move from Manchester City.

Arteta coached the versatile Zinchenko while an assistant to Pep Guardiola and after the game he heaped praise on the Ukrainian.

‘He's an exceptional footballer and is someone that is going to bring a competitive edge to that dressing room,’ Arteta said.

‘There are still a few formalities to get everything concrete, but I’m really happy to have him, I know the player really well.’

Arteta wants to use Zinchenko at left back – as cover for Kieran Tierney – and in midfield.

‘He can play both,’ Arteta said.

‘He was a natural No 10 early in his career, and we converted him into a left back, which can do a lot of things that we want in our way of playing.

‘That versatility is something that's going to be important for the team because we have other players in that position than more specific fullbacks, so I’m really happy.’

Fellow summer signings Gabriel Jesus and Fabio Vieira can also play in multiple positions and Arteta said their recruitment is part of a deliberate policy to make Arsenal more ‘unpredictable’.

‘That's one of the things, and where we can adapt structures, formations and rotations, we think this squad and playing with the same players in a different way to be more unpredictable is obviously important and that's why we have recruited those players,’ he said.

Zinchenko is Arsenal’s fifth summer signing and Arteta did not rule out more reinforcements.

But after bringing a bloated, 33-man touring party to the US, the manager will now focus on shedding dead wood.

‘We have a large squad, so we have to make some decisions on the players that we're not going to be using consistently and be fair and straight with them, and that's a process that's going to start very soon,’ he said.

Arteta was tight-lipped on reports that Lucas Torreira had left the camp to travel to Italy, insisting the midfielder remains ‘our player.’

After two wins out of two on this tour, Arsenal face Chelsea on Saturday – less than two weeks before the start of the new season.

‘Our target at this club is to win competitions. It cannot be anything else than that, and the way we are building the squad is to achieve that,’ Arteta said.

‘The window is not closed. The squad is not closed. We will set our targets internally, but they won't be at the end of the season. It will be much shorter because that's still too far and a lot of things will happen.’
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