Player Profiles: Oleksandr Zinchenko
A Premier League winners medal and a EFL Cup later, Oleksandr Zinchenko is set to leave Manchester City.
The 21 year old is subject of a club record £16 million bid from Wolves and is widely expected to leave the Premier League Champions for the Midlands. His stay at the Etihad thus far has been just 2 years long, with the first season being on loan in Holland. The glimpses of quality shown when called upon by Zinchenko have inevitably raised his value. Yet first team opportunities have been tough to come by and due to the substantial squad depth they have, City are willing to listen to offers from admirers of the Ukrainian.
Oleksandr Zinchenko is a product of the not so known Youth Sporitve School Karpatiya. After 4 years at Karpatiya Radomyshl, he played for the youth side of Monolit Illichivsk for a season before joining Ukranian giants Shakhtar Donetsk from 2009 until 2014 to end his youth career.
At just 18 years of age, Zinchenko signed for FC UFA in 2014, featuring 7 times in his debut season in the Russian Premier League. The following season however truly was Zinchenko’s breakout season where he put himself in the spotlight. 2 goals and 4 assists in 24 appearances for the 19 year old were very impressive figures that began to attract the attention of Europe’s top clubs. The promising youngster was being closely monitored by Borussia Dortmund, with various other clubs also desiring his signature. However, his next destination was to be England as he became one of Pep Guardiola’s first signings at Manchester City for an undisclosed fee in 2016.
As expected, Zinchenko was promptly loaned out PSV Eindhoven for the 2016/17 season. A tremendous 8 assists in the 7 games he played for the reserve team convinced manager Phillip Cocu to utilise his services in the main team. 17 appearances in the season (4 of which were in the Champions League) made his spell in the Eredivisie relatively unsuccessful with many feeling his stint at City would be shortly over. However, his return to Manchester the following season was far more successful than anticipated.
Funnily enough, his debut for Manchester City was against Wolves in the EFL Cup in October 2017. After injuries to Benjamin Mendy and Fabian Delph, Zinchenko got a consistent run in the team, featuring in the left back position. Although not his preferred position, the 17 capped Ukrainian adapted well, with consistent performances in a star studded City side.
Zinchenko is a very versatile player shown by his ability to play on the left wing, central attacking midfield and most recently at left back. A hard-working player when on the pitch, the Ukrainian is capable of being strong offensively with his passing ability as well as defensively at left back. Yet not much has been seen of the former Shakhtar Donetsk player to suggest he is the golden boy of Ukrainian football.
It all lies on Zinchenko now regarding whether he wants to continue as a rotation player for Manchester City or move to Wolves seeking first team football. Certainly the potential for a trophy is significantly higher for the Citizens, yet to develop into the talent that Ukrainians firmly believe he is, a move away may be the best option on the table. The signing of Riyad Mahrez has certainly dented his chances even more now, perhaps why Guardiola is willing to let him go after just two seasons since signing him. A move to Molineux will allow him to play week in week out and grow as a player. The fact Wolves are willing to spend a club record amount of money on him suggests he is a capable player and that he is one to watch for the future, regardless of his struggles thus far.