Manchester City have announced the departure of Oleksandr Zinchenko to Arsenal for a reported fee of £30 million plus £2 million in add-ons. The Ukrainian leaves the Etihad Stadium after six years and joins the Gunners on a long-term deal.
Zinchenko will join up with former City assistant manager Mikel Arteta, who reportedly shares an excellent relationship with the player, and Gabriel Jesus, who completed his £45 million move to the Emirates earlier in the window.
Then 19 years old, Zinchenko was signed by City from FC Ufa in 2016 for a reported fee between £1.4 million and £1.7 million, having plied his trade as an attacking midfielder and forward in the seasons prior to his arrival.
He joined PSV Eindhoven on a season-long loan that summer before staying as a member of Pep Guardiola's squad for the Centurions season in 17/18 as an emergency left-back option, making his debut in October 2017 in the Carabao Cup against Wolves.
The now 25-year-old would then establish himself as a reliable option at left fullback for Guardiola and played a significant role in that position over the second half of the 18/19 season, which saw the club pick up an unprecedented domestic treble.
The 20/21 season proved to be another memorable one for the versatile player as he became a key component in the side that secured another Premier League crown and reached the Champions League final for the first time; a game in which he was entrusted to start over Joao Cancelo owing to his consistent performances in the weeks building up to the game.
Zinchenko has been reluctant to leave the Blues in seasons gone by, most notably rejecting a move to Wolves after a £16 million fee was reportedly agreed between City and the West Midlands club in 2018, and has publicly detailed his affection for the club on a number of occasions – ensuring a loving relationship with the large majority of the City faithful.
However, 21/22 was a less than ideal campaign for the full-back due to injuries at the beginning of the season, Cancelo's incredible form at left-back, and the happenings in his home country of Ukraine, only going on to make 15 Premier League appearances, which likely led to the assessing of options and the openness to ending his time at the club.
Arsenal have seemingly convinced Zinchenko they can offer him more regular game time as well as provide a greater opportunity of being deployed in midfield as he is for the Ukrainian national team while also remaining in the Premier League.
Speaking to mancity.com, Zinchenko looked over his highly successful time at the club and thanked the fans:
"Signing for Manchester City changed my life, and I will always be grateful for the opportunity they gave me. It’s a special club and this has been a special period. To have won 10 trophies is incredible and I am immensely proud of everything we have achieved together. I have loved being part of this squad. Playing alongside world-class players and working with Pep Guardiola has been an absolute privilege and I must say the same about playing in front of the fans, who always made me feel so at home here. I thank them all for the support they have given me, and I wish the club all the best in the future."
In his final interview with the club, Zinchenko said:
"I was not really ready for this day. It’s a sad day but this is life, and you have to carry on. It has been an unbelievable time, an unbelievable six years – I feel like I was a small part of this amazing club."
"I am so grateful to everyone who has done a lot to help me and my family. We achieved a lot of titles and I want to say a massive thanks to all the fans and the Cityzens. They have supported all this time and especially in the toughest time of my life and the war started."
"I felt amazing support around myself, and my family and I can’t be grateful enough for all they have done for me. I don’t know what I would have done without that support. You are fantastic and you are the best."
"I would also like to say thanks to Pep and the coaching staff for believing in me and for everything they have done for me and to my teammates and everyone else at this incredible club. I’m so happy that one day I can say to my grandsons and granddaughters that I was small part of this amazing club."
Director of Football Txiki Begiristain spoke glowingly and praised the left-back's contribution to the club:
"I cannot speak highly enough of Oleks, both as a player and a person. He should be very proud of his time here at City. He helped us achieve great things and the way he has conducted himself has been an example to all. His professionalism and work ethic has been exceptional, and we all wish him the very best of luck as he begins this new chapter in his career."
City Report would like to wish Oleksandr Zinchenko the very best for the next chapter in his career and thank him for the contributions he made as a key component in one of the greatest sides English football has ever seen.
Written by: @NA1907_
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