Pep Guardiola explains reasons for ‘important figure’ Oleksandr Zinchenko’s move to Arsenal

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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has revealed the reasons behind Oleksandr Zinchenko’s move to Arsenal.

Zinchenko spent four seasons at City and won the Premier League trophy four times, before heading to Emirates Stadium last summer along with Gabriel Jesus.

The 26-year-old has played 17 matches for the Gunners since completing his £32million move, and claimed the left-back spot ahead of Kieran Tierney.

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Guardiola admits he still has a fondness for his former player but explained why he allowed the Ukraine international to leave the club.

“I think everyone here is in love with him,” said Guardiola.

“He was an important figure in our club. What I like the most about Alex was the fact that in the first years we wanted to move him from here because we thought he wasn’t going to play much and he said he was going to fight for his position.

Zinchenko received a warm welcome when he returned to the Etihad Stadium in January as City beat Arsenal in the FA Cup fourth round.

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He will be hoping to start on Wednesday night as the Gunners aim to win their first Premier League game against City in 10 matches.

“I told him it would be difficult because we had many players in his position but he said he was going to stay here, He trained really well, never had a bad face, playing sparingly and always had good behaviour. Normally when you don’t play you’ll see players not wanting to do it in the gym or extra time but he was always there.

“For the circumstances in life, a lot of injuries in one position, he took the opportunity. That is a good mindset. At the end, there were reasons and Mikel knows him pretty well because they worked together and he believed he could be this piece to try and make the process a little bit better.

“I’m happy for him, it’s going well.”

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