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HomeSportsFootballChampions League: Joshua Zirkzee to Arsenal – Player Profile, Fitness & Analysis

Champions League: Joshua Zirkzee to Arsenal – Player Profile, Fitness & Analysis

Bologna’s surprising push for Champions League qualification has caught many off guard. A major contributing factor to their success has been the outstanding performance of Dutch forward Joshua Zirkzee.

This piece will examine Zirkzee’s versatile skills, his determination, and how his displays have fueled a spirited quest for European glory for both the club and the player. We’ll also delve into why this “technically gifted center forward” could be an ideal addition to Arsenal’s attacking lineup.

Joshua Zirkzee – Player Profile

Age: 22
Club: Bologna
Position: CF/SS
Foot: Right
Nationality: Dutch
Value: €40M
Height: 6’4
Avg SofaScore rating: 7.03

Also read: Nigeria National League Dismisses Speculations Of October Start For 2024/25 Season

Joshua-Zirkzee-Player-Profile

One of the most echoed names across Europe lately is Joshua Zirkzee. Complete conglomeration CF that a manager would dream of having in his squad: Poacher, Target Man, False 9. He prefers playing a free role, and that’s what makes him unpredictable. Provides plenty of options to play different roles and adapt to different dynamics.

Given the freedom in the free-flowing football Motta plays, Zirkzee has been redefining separation movements from his marker. His opening up of the body, receiving the ball, and one-touch passes have helped in the progression of transitions. His ability to stretch defenses and run by acting as a channel makes him variably unique.

Let’s try dissecting his profile and seeing what he brings to the table if Arsenal were to sign him;

Finishing

Wide ranges of finishing to beat the keeper from any angle. His low center of gravity allows him to glide past players and make steady movements to have a crack at goal. Good in tight areas and creating space for himself, which goes on to help in shot generation. He shows lots of conviction with his box presence and movements to find the back of the net. He averages 2.92 shots per 90 minutes.

Orchestrator

He involves himself in good attacking plays, very often being the facilitator, and holds lots of responsibility for it. He holds the ball really well and looks for overlapping movements from his teammates to try to find them. Sometimes ends up creating more than getting closer to the goal due to Bologna’s set-up.

Passing

His one-touch passes + risk taking aid in orchestrating in diff phases of play. Efficient with his passes and has a wide range of techniques which help him in picking out the right pass. Quick scans and body jiggles manipulate the opponent. Playmaking skills and creativity input cannot be disregarded. His long passing helps him create from the deep, something strikers like Kane and Osimhen thrive at.

Dribbling

Good first touch which refines his press-resistant capability in tight spaces. Makes short touches which keeps the ball close to his body through which he can shield the ball and spin out effectively. His burst of pace + quick feet + low centre of gravity at 6’4, help him create separation movements and dribble. Not the quickest of the lot but visually leaps with every movement.

Skills

5-star skills In his tank with crazy flicks, Cruyff turns and also chops to send the defenders to the shops. The casual drop of the shoulder helps him change directions, and he uses it a lot. Additionally, he drops deep, so he has more options to pick out his teammates after beating his men, and he does it with lots of finesse. He loves to be involved in all phases of attack and has one of the best link-up plays in Europe.

Joshua-Zirkzee-Heat-Map

Positioning

Cheeky with his positioning as he likes to make late runs into onside positions, which help him surprise his marker and get extra space on the ball. Shifts his body well to find space behind him after dropping deep himself from the same position. Simple but effective.

Also read: Toni Kroos’ Farewell: A Heartfelt Goodbye To International Football

Physicality

He shields the ball very well and makes space for himself or the runners. His very strong core body strength and his height add to this. His physicality allows him to bully defenders off the ball and make strong runs towards goal. His work rate and intensity defensively will excite any manager. He’ll tackle and intercept. Joshua has been excellent when it comes to making ball recoveries. Always be sharp around the attacking half, which helps him anticipate and intercept. Averages around 3 per 90.

Areas he could improve on

Aerial Duels

No doubt he has the stature and tries using his head more but he needs quality with the duels he competes in. That being said in terms of defensive aerial clearances he leaps and tries contesting in them.

Lacks the technique, timing and movements to get into the right positions to head the ball and score from those chances.

Experience

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His gradual improvisations and exposure through the ranks have given him the confidence to find the player in him. Still a bit raw but can add lots of value as he keeps playing.

How would he fit in at Arsenal?

How-would-Arsenal-line-up-with-Zirkzee

Regarded as a project striker, he might fit straight into Arsenal’s potential XI for next season. He could start as the CF and make the most of the runners around him. Quick 1-2’s with Havertz at SS, interchanging and playing through on goal in particular.

Playing on a much more attacking-minded side, which primarily relies on their wingers and attacking midfielders to create chances and score, Zirkzee would fit as a plum. Better players around him will make him explode as a CF, and his associative play will be deadly.

It’s no doubt that he’s been balling out in a possession-oriented side like Bologna, who have a similar structure of football to Arsenal. Could help in the build-up by dropping deep and, at the same time, be the poacher Arsenal are missing out on.

His Ambi pedal ability and agility could allow him to play anywhere in the front line. Dribbling with both feet with good hip movements can make him an unpredictable asset.

Also read: Transfer News: Nigerian Youngster Musiliu Odekunle Seals Move To Danish Giants, FC Midtjylland

Conclusion

A target man profile standing at 6’4 who could come at the end of almost every cross, link-up play, facilitate, and dribble shouldn’t go under the radar. He’s created his own profile that football hasn’t actually seen—something in between Firmino and Muller, particularly.

Although it’s too much to compare profiles like that, he somewhat also resembles one of the greatest, ~ Dennis Bergkamp. Also has lots of similarities with Zlatan for the above-mentioned reasons.

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