Unlikely former Arsenal man hailed as ‘irreplaceable’

The ex-Arsenal left-back, who joined the Italian club from Marseille on a free transfer, has rapidly become an integral part of their defence. His consistent performances this season underline a significant career resurgence.

BERGAMO, ITALY – NOVEMBER 09: Sead Kolasinac of Atalanta BC looks on during the UEFA Europa League 2023/24 group stage match between Atalanta BC and SK Sturm Graz at Gewiss Stadium on November 09, 2023 in Bergamo, Italy. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

Sead Kolašinac, the former Arsenal left-back, has become an indispensable figure for Atalanta after a series of challenging years in his football career with one report calling him ‘irreplaceable’ and the ‘revelation of the season’.

The 30-year-old Bosnian defender, who arrived in Bergamo on a free transfer from Marseille, has quickly established himself as a key player in Atalanta‘s defence. This season, he has made 17 appearances out of 18 possible, only missing one match due to being rested.

Kolašinac’s journey at Atalanta marks a significant turnaround.

His time at Arsenal, which began in 2017 following his transfer from Schalke 04, was a mixed affair.

Initially winning fans over with his robust playing style, Kolašinac’s later years at Arsenal were hampered by limited playing time, injuries, and tactical changes.

Arsenal's German-born Bosnian defender Sead Kolasinac reacts at the final whistle during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park in south London on January 11, 2020. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP / Getty Images)
Arsenal’s German-born Bosnian defender Sead Kolasinac reacts at the final whistle during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park in south London on January 11, 2020. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP / Getty Images)

This led to a reassessment by fans and the club alike.

His stint with Olympique de Marseille in the 2022-2023 season, after his Arsenal contract was cancelled, proved more fruitful, where he scored four goals in 33 Ligue 1 appearances. But, again, things there soured.

Atalanta‘s acquisition of Kolašinac, particularly without a transfer fee, is now seen as a masterstroke.

Valued at around €20 million on the market, he was signed from Marseille after he freed himself from his contract in June.

This move has paid dividends, with Kolašinac quickly becoming an ‘irreplaceable part’ of the Nerazzurri defence.

His performances have highlighted not only his defensive capabilities but also his ability to adapt and excel, reaffirming his status as a top-class defender in European football which, let’s face it, had diminished quite a lot in recent years.

Good for him!

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