With the January transfer window approaching, there are reports that Arsenal are going to make a signing!
Yes, a real signing! According to Russian outlet Izvestia, Arsenal are close to completing a £4.3m deal for Dynamo Moscow striker Aleksandr Kokorin, whose contract expires at the end of the season.
After being linked with him in the summer, this could just be a recurring rumour, but what if it’s true?
Who is he?
Well, Kokorin is a 24-year-old Russian striker who, up until now, has only ever played for Dynamo Moscow. He’s scored 50 goals in 201 appearances for the club since making his debut as a 16-year-old. It’s not a bad return, considering the club is pretty average and generally finished in mid table in the Russian league.
The last two seasons, Kokorin was their top scorer with 10 goals, and he has already managed five in just 10 appearances so far this season. Since last season he has been the club captain, too.
He also has 10 goals in 36 appearances for Russia, far from a poor return for a player who isn’t really an out-and-out striker, but more on that in a minute.
A hard working and versatile player who seems to be a decent finisher and fairly good at keeping the ball, why would Arsenal want him?
Danny Welbeck’s injury is looking increasingly bad. Originally out near the end of last season, his return date has constantly been moved. Well then, maybe Kokorin is his replacement?
The Gunners had a deadline day loan bid rejected for Kokorin, around the same time it was decided and announced that Danny Welbeck would undergo surgery for his knee injury.
Kokorin usually play up front alone but, like Welbeck, has been used wide plenty of times in his career. Moreover, his simple passing helps his sides keep the ball, just like the Arsenal man, and his defensive contribution from advanced areas is another similarity between the two.
Right now, Arsenal are relying on Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sánchez and Theo Walcott. Given the lack of wide options remaining and Walcott’s habit of getting injured, there would be no harm in having another player around. At Olympiacos on Wednesday and Aston Villa on Sunday, our attacking options on the bench consisted of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alex Iwobi, and Arsène Wenger can’t be satisfied with that.
Unsure on Walcott’s fitness, unwilling to push Alexis too much and worried about Welbeck’s return date, it seems like Kokorin – while not a star to take us to the next level – would be a very sensible purchase to bolster the squad with.