Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola has confirmed Oleksandr Zinchenko will continue his playing career at Arsenal.
The 25-year-old defender-cum-midfielder joined the Mancunians from Russian outfit Ufa in the summer of 2016 going on to make no fewer than 127 appearances in all competitions subsequently registering two goals and 12 assists.
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Zinchenko, who briefly spent time on loan at Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven, originally signed for the Premier League champions as a midfielder but under Guardiola’s leadership he’d turn into a left-back. He’s expected to become City’s seventh summer departee with Fernandinho leaving on a free while Raheem Sterling moving for big money to title rivals Chelsea.
By relocating to north London the Ukrainian international links up with Gabriel Jesus and Guardiola is grateful of the time spent together. Meanwhile soon-to-be former teammate Rodri has lauded Zinchenko while stating his belief that sporting director Txiki Begiristain is the club’s most important performer.
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“I’ll say on behalf of the club our gratitude on and off the pitch,” said Guardiola.
“It was nice yesterday with Oleks because we could say bye properly.
“Unfortunately, Gabi [Gabriel Jesus] and Raheem [Sterling] could not do it but with him we could and he moves on to Arsenal.”
Rodri added: “Oleks is not with us anymore. He’s been great as a teammate and as a player.”
“He deserved the best and we are going to miss him, but this is football, it continues and new players come in. We are happy for him.”
Rodri, himself, renewed his Man City contract earlier this summer, a process that has influenced his opinion on who the club’s most important individual is.
“We were talking about [sportig director Txiki Begiristain’s] role and I think he’s curious,” Rodri said.
🗣 "For me he [Txiki Begiristain] is the most important part of the club right now."
Rodri admits he would prefer to go into a board level role than become a coach after his playing days are over pic.twitter.com/NvTeoVFowL
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) July 20, 2022
“For me, he is the most important part of the club right now. The guy who says who comes, who goes… the one who builds the teams.
“It’s not easy. It’s tricky, you have to be clever, you have to speak languages, you have to be smart, you have to be a good negotiator. Many things.
“Could I see myself in a similar role one day? Maybe. I think more than [being] the coach.”