Who is Denis Zakaria? The Swiss star tipped to replace Xhaka at Arsenal

FT Desk
  • FT Desk
  • July 26, 2021, 10:30 CEST
  • 3 min read
Man Utd transfer news: Gladbach boss admits club may need to sell Zakaria

The 2021/22 summer transfer window will prove to be a busy one for Arsenal.

The Gunners have already added to their squad with the purchases of Nuno Tavares from Benfica to provide cover for Kieran Tierney at left-back, while Albert Sambi Lokonga has arrived from Anderlecht.

Ben White will also become an Arsenal player once his £50 million transfer from Brighton is finalised.

There will be plenty of outgoings, too, particularly in midfield.

Matteo Guendouzi has already left for Marseille, while Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard have both returned to Real Madrid.

Granit Xhaka, too, appears to be heading for the exit with a transfer to Roma looking close.

With midfield reinforcements required, Arsenal are targeting Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Denis Zakaria.

What position does Denis Zakaria play?

After coming through as a ball-winning central midfielder at Young Boys, Zakaria has certainly shown his ability to play as a box-to-box midfielder and as a holding midfielder for Gladbach over the last four seasons. 

He initially came through as a striker at youth level and then spent some time as a central defender, so it makes perfect sense to see him roaming across the pitch, perfectly capable of sticking in a tackle as well as he can set up a goal for a teammate. 

How old is Denis Zakaria?

Zakaria was born in November of 1996, making him 24 years old.

How good is Denis Zakaria?

Initially signed to replace the creative midfielder Mahmoud Dahoud, Zakaria quickly established himself as a very different type of midfielder but still one that took to the Bundesliga like a duck to water. 

After signing for a sizable sum by Gladbach standards, the Switzerland international was placed directly into Dieter Hecking’s side and wasted no time in showing how good he could be at dominating opposition players. 

That box-to-box energy was then put to full use when Marco Rose took over the club in 2019, as Zakaria and his teammates pushed the Foals all the way to fourth place in the Bundesliga and qualification for the Champions League. 

If the Premier League is the endgame for Zakaria, he certainly seems to show all the confidence needed to reach such heights. 

When asked about his main attributes in an interview with the Times, the midfielder said: 

“I have a lot of speed; I’m very good in one-on-ones; I can break lines pretty well. I like to take the ball and try to get through the opposing line. I think my speed is pretty good for a No.6.”

And who would he compare himself to in that regard? Well, none other than Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira. “I have watched many videos of Vieira,” he says, “I see a bit of myself in him. I like the way he played.”

What clubs are interested in Denis Zakaria?

Like all midfielders that leave their mark on the Bundesliga, it wasn’t long before Zakaria was being linked with some of the biggest clubs in the Premier League. 

Manchester City and Manchester United were both previously linked with him, but it appears Arsenal are now leading the way as Arteta sees him as an ideal partner for Thomas Partey.

When does Denis Zakaria's contract expire?

Zakaria’s current contract is due to expire in the summer of 2022, on June 30. 

What is Denis Zakaria’s Instagram?

As of July 2021, Zakaria’s instagram has 90k followers.

Who is Denis Zakaria's girlfriend?

Zakaria is not currently dating anyone publicly.