College Football Pick’em
Your Daily NFL Fix
Daily Soccer Podcast
Arsenal are set to secure Brighton forward Leandro Trossard as the Gunners aim to give Mikel Arteta the firepower to win the Premier League title. Having opened talks with Brighton on Thursday morning, Arsenal quickly agreed a deal worth an initial £21 million for the Belgian international with further add-ons worth up to £5 million included. Trossard is set to undergo his medical in north London over the coming hours before putting pen to paper on a contract. Arsenal are aiming to complete all the formalities before midday on Friday, which would allow him to be registered in the matchday squad to face Manchester United on Sunday, though club insiders view it as unlikely that they will manage to do so.
Tottenham had also been tracking Trossard but Arsenal have moved swiftly for the forward, scorer of seven goals in 16 Premier League games this season, after missing out on Mykhaylo Mudryk, who went to Chelsea. Arteta is eager to strengthen his attack as his side look to hold on to their eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League, and in Trossard they would be securing a ready-made addition with experience in the English game who is eager to move on.
Last week Trossard’s agent Josy Comhair accused Brighton head coach Roberto De Zerbi of humiliating his client, claiming that the boss had stopped speaking to him four weeks earlier after an incident at training.
“It is also the manager who has indicated several times that a transfer is the most convenient solution,” Comhair added. “It is therefore important that Brighton cooperates with a potential transfer during this transfer period and shows a benevolent attitude, which is beneficial to both parties.”
Arsenal have long been admirers of Trossard, who was on their shortlist of targets in the summer of 2019, when they ultimately opted to sign Nicolas Pepe for a club record £72 million.
CBS Sports has the soccer podcast for you, covering everything you need to know about the beautiful game. Make sure to give House of Champions a follow for coverage of the biggest games, stories, transfer news with Fabrizio Romano, and everything else going on in the world’s most popular sport.
After missing out on Mudryk, Arsenal have adapted to their circumstances, this remarkable scenario beyond all but the most fevered of Arteta’s dreams at the start of the season. Mudryk, a 22-year-old of promise and potential, would have been the signing for where the Gunners expected to find themselves: a club building a project for the long term around the best young talent they could get their hands on. Considering that the Ukrainian’s price ultimately ballooned to nine figures for a player with 50 appearances in the Ukrainian top flight and Champions League, Arsenal may well have avoided an expensive risk.
Anyway, Arsenal are not solely building for the long term right now. Even with half of the Premier League season to go, the prize is within reach. A team that have set out on the second briskest pace of any club in this division’s history have earned themselves an eight-point cushion at the top of the table. They are suddenly the title favorites. This is the move of a team intent on grasping this opportunity.
By most measures, Trossard is a productive Premier League player, one who averages a solid 0.29 non-penalty expected goals (npxG) per 90 minutes, a top 40 mark in the division. Per fbref, his combined npxG and expected assists is 0.45 per 90, comparable with James Maddison and Julian Alvarez, just behind that of Gabriel Martinelli. These are solid numbers, a slight upswing on last season (when he registered 0.39) but with little to them to suggest they are anything other than representative of a forward playing in a better team.
Off the ball, he fits with the energetic disruption that Arteta expects from his forward. Only three players have regained possession in the final third more frequently than Trossard this season, in years gone by his combined tackles and interceptions made for impressive reading too.
No one would reasonably expect Trossard to come in and start regularly for Arsenal — if he does something may well have gone very right for him to overhaul Martinelli or Bukayo Saka — but he is as plug and play as they come, a player who is used to the English game and who has played in a Brighton side who aspire to control games in the same way the Gunners do.
Before his falling out with De Zerbi, Trossard predominantly played as a center forward though for most of his Brighton career he has operated on the left flank. That might appear to be one of the spots in Arsenal’s squad where they have requisite depth but adding another body behind Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe does open up new avenues for Arteta. Notably, CBS Sports has been told that in preseason Arsenal intended to test Smith Rowe in one of the central midfield roles that Granit Xhaka and Martin Odegaard have made their own only for injuries to get in the way. Coaches at London Colney have long viewed the England international’s development endpoint in a more central spot, adding Trossard to the left flank deepens options in central areas as well.
As with any transfer, this is not without its risks. There is a reason that Arsenal have favored recruits in their teens and early 20s in recent years. Trossard will almost certainly have little sell-on value and the most likely scenario is that his new club find themselves on the hook for his post-prime years. It is perhaps why he makes little sense for Tottenham if they have a post-Harry Kane and Heung-min Son future in their considerations. Yet for Arsenal, all that downside can be set against one simple question — what value might four or five goals have between now and the end of May?
© 2004-2023 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.
CBS Sports is a registered trademark of CBS Broadcasting Inc. Commissioner.com is a registered trademark of CBS Interactive Inc.
Images by Getty Images and US Presswire