Arsenal and Brighton have reached a £21m deal for the transfer of Leandro Trossard, who is preparing to join the Premier League leaders.
Arsenal moved quickly to secure a deal for Trossard after they missed out on Chelsea joining Mykhailo Mudryk last weekend.
Trossard’s final fee could eventually reach around £26m. telegraph sport understands if various plugins are met.
Trossard, 28, has effectively requested to leave Brighton this month after falling out with new head coach Roberto De Zerbi.
The Belgian forward can play on the front lines and his versatility means he will provide much-needed competition for players like Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka.
Tottenham Hotspur had also shown interest in Trossard this month but moved quickly after Arsenal decided that he was their preferred target after Mudryk’s loss to Chelsea.
Arsenal, which has also made moves for Raphinha and Pedro Neto in the summer before chasing Mudryk in recent weeks, has long hoped to add more offensive options to Mikel Arteta’s first-team roster.
Trossard joined Brighton from Genk in the summer of 2019 for a fee of around £15m. He has since made 116 Premier League appearances, scoring 25 goals and scoring 13 assists.
Trossard had an impressive season with Brighton, scoring seven goals in 17 games and playing for Belgium at the World Cup in Qatar.
However, he has not been representing his club since the beginning of this year, after breaking with De Zerbi.
The Italian said last week that Trossard was kicked out of the squad for the weekend’s game against Liverpool due to attitude issues.
De Zerbi claimed that Trossard left the last practice session without permission after learning that Brighton would not start an FA Cup draw with Middlesbrough.
In a statement released by his agency, Trossard responded to these allegations, saying that De Zerbi had not spoken to him directly for weeks as a result of a “trivial” argument between the Belgian and a teammate in training after the World Cup.
The statement also alleged that Trossard withdrew from training due to a calf problem prior to the Middlesbrough match and his decision was made in consultation with the club’s medical team.
Arsenal have a youthful backbone – they can now add who they like
The average age of Arsenal’s away transfers over the past two seasons has been 22. The oldest outfielder they signed at that time is Oleksandr Zinchenko, who is now 26 years old. There was a defined and conscious strategy to target younger players and recreate the core of Mikel Arteta’s roster.
So how should Arsenal fans judge the club’s move for Brighton forward Leandro Trossard? The 28-year-old is about to become the club’s oldest away signing since they bought Willian, who was 32 at the time, from Chelsea on a three-year deal.
The first point to be noted is that the foundations of a new team have now been laid. If the last two summers have been spent overhauling and renewing the squad, Arsenal have been successful on that front. Names like Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White, Gabriel Magalhaes, Zinchenko, Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Jesus represent the backbone of the team right now and will continue to do so for years to come.
With these foundations laid, Arsenal feel comfortable recruiting a player who doesn’t fit the same model. Trossard is not a player who will develop it and then sell the line to make a profit. He is at his highest age and will join the team with the expectation that he will immediately help them in their fight for the title. It’s not a project signing, it’s an agreement in the here and now.
Obviously, the Belgian striker was not Arsenal’s first choice. They wanted Mudryk, who has since joined Chelsea. But in a difficult month to do business (Arsenal often avoids investing in January) it makes sense: versatile, experienced and proven in the Premier League.
Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka can’t play every minute of every game, especially Arsenal are fighting for the Europa League this season. They need more options in these wide offensive positions, and while Trossard isn’t as eye-catching as Mudryk, he is undoubtedly a player who will strengthen the Arsenal squad.