Mikel Arteta expects Leandro Trossard to hit the ground running at Arsenal and says the Belgium international has a level of versatility that will be very useful in the second half of the season.
The 28-year-old Belgium international moves to the Emirates from Brighton in a deal reported to be worth £21 million plus add-ons and is expected to take a place on the bench when Manchester United visit the Emirates on Sunday.
Trossard’s arrival ahead of a crucial Premier League encounter and with an FA Cup trip to Manchester City on the horizon is no coincidence. The Gunners have wanted to complete their transfer business early this month with injuries leaving the squad threadbare in the attack.
“In the summer we were looking for a player in that position and we weren’t able to do it,” Arteta told his weekly press conference.
“It’s something that the squad needed and with the injuries to Gabi [Jesus] and Reiss [Nelson] especially, we are really short in the frontline. We needed some reinforcements and we found in Leo, a player that fits everything that we want.
“We are really happy to have him. He’s a player that we have been following for a while now. The opportunity came, we have the necessity to have a player in the frontline that is versatile enough to play in different positions, he knows the league, he’s experienced and I think he can have an immediate impact in the team.”
While Trossard is more likely to make his debut from the bench this weekend, it’s possible he could get a start against City next Friday what with the likes of Eddie Nketiah, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli playing a lot of football recently.
“It’s very important [that he can hit the ground running], we had to think short-term but as well medium and long-term and I think he gives us all that,” added Arteta.
“He’s a very intelligent player, when you look at his career, what he’s done in the last few years, he’s a player that fits our way of playing, that’s for sure. We are happy to have him.”
Having been an important player for Brighton over the last three years, Trossard’s departure from the south coast club was somewhat overshadowed by a falling out with coach Roberto De Zerbi earlier in the month.
Arteta dismissed concerns about the player’s character and said his assistant, Albert Stuivenberg, had only good words to say about a player who he knew from his time managing Genk in the Jupiler Pro League.
“We talk to everybody that’s connected about players that we want to recruit because character is something crucial, but as well to understand how they are, how they behave, will they accept the role that they have at the club with us. Then personal conversations are very, very important as well,” said Arteta.
“Albert gave me a really, really good reference. But not just now, for a few years already.”
For more on what Leandro Trossard will bring to Arsenal, check out Phil Costa’s excellent player profile