Sead Kolasinac has joined FC Schalke on loan until the end of the season, after signing a contract with the Bundesliga club in the last 24 hours.
Sky Germany reported that FC Schalke succeeded in completing a deal to sign Sead Kolasinac on loan. The player has signed his contract for a move that will last until the summer, with an official announcement coming a few hours later.
🗞 Sead Kolasinac has agreed to join Bundesliga side Schalke on loan for the remainder of the season
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 31, 2020
Kolasinac is returning to his former club, with Arsenal paying part of his wages over the initial loan spell to make the move possible.
Fabrizio Romano and Bild both confirmed Sky’s information, with rapid progress on Arsenal’s first outgoing of the window. Bild added that Kolasinac arrived in Dusseldorf on Wednesday night for a medical and Schalke will pay a €3m loan fee.
Christian Falk reports that Kolasinac waived half of his salary to get the deal done. Even with Arsenal covering part of the costs, Schalke still needed their former left-back to take a cut.
Back in England, Chris Wheatley reports that the loan doesn’t have an obligation to buy. However, it could become a permanent deal if Schalke stay up – which isn’t guaranteed as they are currently bottom of the table.
Wheatley added that Arsenal will offer similar loans and salary-split packages to other players they want out in January.
What does this mean for Arsenal’s squad situation?
Kolasinac’s departure opens up a spot in both the Europa League and the Premier League squads.
In the Europa League, I would be very surprised if Gabriel Martinelli doesn’t fill it. Despite his age, he isn’t eligible for the under-21 B-list, having been with Arsenal for less than two years. So he has to occupy a senior squad spot instead.
However, Martinelli is already in the Premier League squad, as there are no such restrictions for under-21s domestically.
As a result, Arsenal could reintegrate Sokratis Papastathopoulos or Mesut Özil. I certainly wouldn’t expect them to, but it’s possible. More likely, the club use the extra space for a new signing.
But if they want to use that new signing in the Europa League, they’ll have to sell or exclude someone else, which makes things tricky. If Shkodran Mustafi (who has just six months left on his deal) follows Kolasinac out the door, that would open things up.