Player Profiles: Aleksandr Golovin
From Moscow with love. We have found the next baby-faced assassin.
With a playing style similar to Santi Cazorla, it is no surprise that the big boys are calling CSKA Moscow’s line and enquiring about Golovin. After an impressive World Cup with hosts Russia, playing in the 10 behind Artem Dzyuba, Aleksandr was the recipient of much praise, as he helped Russia reach the Quarter Finals, amassing 3 goal contributions and 1 MOTM in 4 games.
Playing in in the middle of the park in a 3-4-3 formation was the norm for the young Russian, but the occasional outing in one of the 10 roles behind the striker means he is adept in the 6, the 8 as well as the number 10. Versatility is just one thing Golovin has in his backpack. One of his main attributes is his dribbling. The lad makes it look effortless to hold onto the ball, even if a ball is cannoned into his feet. This will be a vital skill for Golovin to use in the Premier League, due to its frantic nature, if you are able to have a calming influence on the ball, it can be extremely valuable.
Whilst operating in the middle of the park for CSKA, Golovin had 1.5 key passes per game, 1.8 dribbles per game and was 2.5 times fouled per game in 27 appearances in the Russian league highlighting the nature of his game (thanks WhoScored). Even though he sets up in the middle, he is not afraid to move wide and progress the game for his team. However, unlike many midfielders, he remembers his defensive responsibilities, shown by his performances in the Champions League and World Cup, when he has faced quality players, his average tackles per game was 2.75, an impressive figure and who can forget his 116th-minute sprint back to regain possession from Spanish forward Rodrigo. He has it all.
Chelsea seem to be front-runners at the moment, but CSKA Moscow are holding out for a £27 million fee. He is likely to be the successor to Fàbregas and Drinkwater. It is no surprise that Chelsea are after him, as Sarri targeted him last summer during his time at Napoli, and with Sarri to be announced soon enough, Golovin may swiftly follow. Even though fees this summer have not been as astronomical as the last two windows, players of good quality are going for healthy figures, so if your club picks up little Aleksandr for sub £30m, then we may be looking at the bargain of the summer.