Agent explains why winger said no to Arsenal

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND: Jorginho of Chelsea is put under pressure by Leandro Trossard of Brighton and Hove Albion during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Chelsea at American Express Community Stadium on September 14, 2020. (Photo by Glyn Kirk/Pool via Getty Images)

Leandro Trossard appears to be edging towards a Brighton exit, with his deal expiring next summer and no extension close. Arsenal have been one of the clubs linked with him in recent months, and it’s not the first time that’s happened.

Before Trossard even joined Brighton in 2019, the winger was heavily linked with the Gunners.

But his agent Josy Comhair has explained that he thought it was better for his client to join a club where he could start regularly and then make a step forward, rather than joining Arsenal to end up on the bench before having to take a step back.

“I had several conversations with Arsenal,” Comhair said. “They came to Belgium four times. I’ll give you a note: most players would have chosen Arsenal.

“But what would have happened if Leandro didn’t get to play? Then there is only one way out: to take a step back. People don’t realise what that does in someone’s head. I know Leandro: bench him three times and he goes wild.

“So, we turned it around: if he does well at Brighton, he doesn’t have to back down, he can take a step forward. Didn’t we get it right?”

Genk's Leandro Trossard celebrate after scoring during a soccer match between RC Genk and Club Brugge, Sunday 14 April 2019 in Genk, on day 4 (out of 10) of the Play-off 1 of the 'Jupiler Pro League' Belgian soccer championship. BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS
Leandro Trossard, then of Genk, celebrates after scoring during a match between RC Genk and Club Brugge, Sunday 14 April 2019. (BELGA PHOTO, JASPER JACOBS)

Comhair certainly makes it sounds as if Trossard is planning a summer departure, as presumably that’s the “step forward” he’s now referencing.

It seems unlikely that’s to Arsenal, with Trossard turning 28 in December and the Gunners probably on the lookout for either a younger talent or another calibre of player in their prime years.

As well as Trossard has been playing recently, he only has 25 goals and 14 assists in his 118 appearances for Brighton.

21-year-old Bukayo Saka has a better career ratio than that (28 goals, 35 assists, 151 games). Even Trossard’s recent hot streak of 10 goal contributions in 14 league games only puts him level with Saka’s own 10 in 14.

It’s hard to see Trossard displacing Saka for a starting role at Arsenal if he can only match him when in form and in his prime years.

But that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be a good addition to the Arsenal squad, on a free transfer, it just means Trossard’s agent is likely to have the same reservations he had three years ago.

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