Arsenal are apparently hot on the heels of Romanian midfielder, Ianis Hagi.
As we know little about him, I asked Dylan Gray, who has been following Hagi closely for over 18 months, if he would put together a report on the player.
Ianis Hagi is a 20-year-old attacking midfielder who currently plays for Viitorul Constanta in Romania’s first division.
He is also the son of the famous Gheorghe Hagi. Viitorul is Gheorghe’s club that he founded in 2009.
Ianis moved to Fiorentina from Viitorul in 2016 for £1.8m. He played for the Primavera there but never got a real shot with the senior team. He moved back to Viitorul in 2018 for the same amount. Since then, he’s been captain of the club and has consistently started and played for the past year-and-a-half.
- Two-footedness – Ianis is very comfortable with both feet. He’s primarily right-footed but never hesitates to use his left.
- Dribbling – He’s not particularly fast, although I wouldn’t call him slow, but he does a nice job of creating a yard of space for himself in tight spaces. He likes to isolate his opponent and commit them to one direction before whipping in a cross in or creating a shot for himself.
- Eye for a pass – He’s audacious with some of his passing, and fair warning – it doesn’t always come off, but he can create big chances when it does.
- Decision making – Ianis is one of the most mature young players I’ve seen from Romania in a long time. On the field, he can be conservative if the game calls for it and he can take risks if it’s required of him. Off the field, he’s had a fantastic mentor to learn from in his father and has been involved in no scandals.
- Shot selection – He’s not afraid to shoot. He shoots a lot from outside of the box which may end up driving the stats guys crazy.
- Physicality – One worry I’d have if he were to come to Arsenal would be whether or not he could cope with the intensity of the Premier League. He would certainly require an adaptation period and you could probably expect a drop off after the holidays, the Romanian League usually takes a month off because of the harsh weather.
- Aerial duels – Will struggle to win many headers in the Premier League.
Where he might fit
At Viitorul, I’ve seen him take up positions as a #10 and out wide. He’s pretty flexible in that regard, which I’m sure Emery would be a fan of. It’s hard to say where he’d fit into the plans when the options within the squad will likely change by the time the transfer window closes.
I think this could be a case of Arsenal “outsmarting the market”. Ianis can be purchased relatively cheaply as you’re taking a player straight a much weaker league.
I think the asking price would likely be under €10m. He’s only 20 but has the mentality and drive to push himself to become better.
It’s also a low-risk move with the potential for a high reward.
However, Romanian transfer rumours are notoriously ridiculous and often wrong, so basically take all of this with a grain of salt until it’s done.
Watch him against Premier League opposition against Trent Alexander-Arnold at 2:07 in the video above and against Ainsley Maitland-Niles at 2:15. Maybe mute the music as well.