On October 29th, 2016, Borussia Dortmund hosted their fierce rivals Schalke at Signal Iduna Park, for the famous Ruhr derby.
The hosts failed to capitalize on their chances, despite controlling the lion’s share of possession and several key chances. The man to blame? None other than the speedy left-back, Sead Kolasinac, whose 74th minute ‘last ditch tackle‘ on U.S. prodigy Christian Pulisic made sure the match ended in a goalless draw. Kolasinac relishes the big games.
An all-around defensive player, the powerfully built Kolasinac plays primarily as a left back because of his speed and seemingly never ending stamina. The 23-year old who was born in Karlsruhe, Germany, also plays international football for the country of his parents, Bosnia and Herzegovina. After a season with the youth squad, Kolasinac was promoted to the senior Schalke side in 2012. Establishing himself as a tireless worker, the defender cemented his role as a starter ever since. A short year after his senior club debut, Kolasinac made his international debut for Bosnia and hasn’t looked back since.
Despite missing action for six months due to an ACL tear in his right-knee, Kolasinac has amassed 94 league caps for his club side, and 23 for his national team. The player has shown steadfast growth throughout his young career, but took a significant jump this season. So much so, in fact, that his five assists in the Bundesliga is the most out of any defender this season. Known primarily for his tough nosed defending, he also added three goals to his repertoire and improved the attacking side of his arsenal.
On the defensive side, Kolasinac has been one of the top performing Bundesliga defenders this season and finds himself in the overall Top 20 Bundesliga players this season according to WhoScored.
The 23-year old has also been instrumental in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s national team performances. Filling a hole at the left-back position, Kolasinac has been one of the few stable and reliable starters in the side. He’s also come a long way since making his debut as a shy newcomer. At the 2014 World Cup, the young player scored an own goal against Argentina, but showed mental toughness to move past it and finish strong. When Emmanuel Emenike shouldered Emir Spahic to score a goal for Nigeria in the next round, Kolasinac was seen on the sideline protesting the non-call, perhaps louder than anyone else. He became an instant fan favorite.
Kolasinac can often be seen squawking at the officials, or hyping up teammates in crucial moments. His tough tackling style is universally loved by Bosnia’s fans who appreciate the effort and ruthlessness the player has exhibited since his debut. Will Arsenal benefit from such a player? It remains to be seen. Those who have followed Kolasinac’s young career can attest to the fact that the Premier League is most likely the perfect fit for Kolasinac, who enjoys the physical aspect of the game and would undoubtedly be a good fit for the style of play in England.
Arsenal have struggled defensively at times in the past couple of seasons, and have even garnered a reputation as somewhat soft. The additions of Xhaka and Kolasinac might significantly alleviate these problems.
As one fan on Twitter put it, they have “made Arsenal gangsta again.”