Sead Kolasinac looks to be headed back to Schalke on a half-season loan, per multiple reports. Some outlets have him already in Germany preparing for a medical. The Bosnian left back played for the Bundesliga club for six years from 2011-2017 before joining Arsenal on a free and was heavily linked with a sale or season-long loan in the fall window, but Schalke reportedly couldn’t make the money work.
Kolasinac appears likely to take a rather large wage cut to help grease the gears of the move, Sport BILD reports that he will waive half his salary. The German outlet also says that Kolasinac is set to become club captain upon completion of the move and that Arsenal will receive a €3M loan fee. Schalke are struggling this season, having picked up a paltry four points from 13 games, and are in a tough spot financially as well. Kolasinac’s got 18 months left on his Arsenal contract, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out he’s made his last appearance for the club.
Mikel Arteta said in his press conference today that Arsenal have a “large squad” and that the club will look to make some of the moves that “should have happened in the summer” because Arsenal “cannot sustain the numbers that we have in certain positions.” He said that the focus in January will first be trimming the squad before making additions. Presumably given the summer links to Schalke, Kolasinac is one of those moves that the club would have liked to have completed a few months ago and is one of the moves that will trim the roster in a few days.
Loaning Kolasinac makes sense. He’s significantly overpaid for a backup left back, and it’s pretty clear that Mikel Arteta does not rate him. He’s made just nine appearances this season and only started once in the Premier League. Kolasinac steps right into the starting lineup at Schalke and should play significant minutes in Germany.
The move will leave Arsenal with just Kieran Tierney as the club’s only natural left back, but we’ve seen Bukayo Saka deputize on the left side of the defense when needed. Should Tierney pick up an injury, Arteta could also switch back to three centerbacks, which I think is the more likely option.