Pep Guardiola claims everyone at Manchester City still loves Oleksandr Zinchenko, particularly with the way he fought for his place at City.
Arsenal summer signing Oleksandr Zinchenko spent six seasons with Manchester City, including one on loan in the Netherlands. He made well over 100 appearances for the side, winning four Premier League titles.
As a result, it wasn’t surprising to hear Pep Guardiola tell the media this week that everyone at City still loves Zinchenko. However, he admits the left-back had to fight for his spot in Manchester.
“I think everyone here is in love with him,” Guardiola said. “He was an important figure in our club.
“What I like the most about Alex was the fact that in the first years, we wanted to move him from here because we thought he wasn’t going to play much and he said he was going to fight for his position.
“I told him it would be difficult because we had many players in his position but he said he was going to stay here. He trained really well, never had a bad face, playing sparingly, and always had good behaviour.
“Normally when you don’t play you’ll see players not wanting to do it in the gym or extra time but he was always there.”
In the end, Zinchenko left City for Arsenal, and he’s already getting close to his best-ever appearance tally for a Premier League season (20 games), having played 14 times in the league so far.
Guardiola admitted the move appears to have been a good one for the 26-year-old.
“At the end, there were reasons and Mikel knows him pretty well because they worked together and he believed he could be this piece to try and make the process a little bit better,” Guardiola said. “I’m happy for him, it’s going well.”
Once again, Zinchenko is involved in a title race, but on the opposite side this time.
After picking up four Premier League medals with City, he’s part of the side trying to stop Guardiola from winning another.
That starts with the clash between Arsenal and City on Wednesday night, and Zinchenko will hope he has a part to play to help his side to a result.