Premier League heavyweights Manchester United are reportedly closing in on the signing of CSKA Moscow midfielder Aleksandr Golovin.
Jose Mourinho was spotted in Innsbruck on Wednesday night, reportedly watching West Ham’s Marko Arnautovic in action for Austria against Russia. However, reports suggest that the United chief’s surprise trip to Austria was to scout Golovin, who turned 22 on the day of the game.
Golovin is Russia’s poster boy going into this summer’s World Cup and having already achieved 18 caps, he will be a key player for the national team. This is a meteoric rise for someone who was a bench warmer at a small Siberian academy in Leninsk-Kuznetsky in 2011.
In 2015, Golovin made his debut for CSKA Moscow and since then, there has been no looking back for the player. However, it took the midfielder almost a year to break into the CSKA starting lineup and remarkably, Golovin was in the starting lineup for Russia at Euro 2016 under Leonid Slutsky.
At 22, he has not only become a regular for his club but he also didn’t miss a single minute of action at the Confederations Cup last summer. Now, ahead of the World Cup, Golovin is considered as a vital cog in Russia’s machine.
Golovin is an attack-minded central midfielder who loves to wreak havoc upon the opposition and cause danger. He is a highly versatile player as he can line up as a central midfielder and is equally adept at playing a defensive role. In addition to that, Golovin can also operate on either wing.
Blessed with a good burst of pace and quick feet, Golovin glides past the opposition players with ease, almost as if they don’t exist. He possesses exceptional passing and crossing skills, punched with a powerful shot.
His defensive skills were not sufficient in the past but with time, the 22-year-old has improved by leaps and bounds.
Golovin is creative and quite forward-thinking with his passing, which makes him a treat to watch. With exceptional ball control and top work-ethic, Golovin is difficult to stop when he is in form.
However, the 22-year-old needs to find consistency and bulk up if he is to thrive with Manchester United in the Premier League.
After all, the English top-flight is one of the most physically demanding leagues across the world and it will be necessary for the CSKA star to gain a few pounds before he sets himself up in the Premier League.
Apart from physicality and height, there aren’t any weaknesses in Golovin’s game. He is a fantastic player to watch and after becoming a key component for CSKA, it is difficult to imagine the Russian national team without him as well.
Whether or not this deal happens is yet to be seen but Golovin could be a fantastic long-term addition for United and at just £15million, he would be a relatively low-risk investment.