Our new signing was all smiles after moving from Manchester City on Friday.
Oleksandr Zinchenko flew across the US to join the team on our summer tour in Florida and revealed it was the fulfillment of a childhood dream as he has supported the club since childhood.
The 25-year-old Ukraine international also spoke about working under Mikel Arteta again, his relationship with Gabriel Jesus, his role in the team and what he can bring to the team.
Read on for a full transcript of his first interview…
Welcome to Arsenal Alex! What does it mean for you to join the association?
Thank you very much. First of all I want to say that this is a childhood dream come true because I was a huge fan when I was a kid. Ever since Thierry Henry and young Cesc Fabregas played here, I’ve just enjoyed watching these games, this arsenal. And obviously I started to love this club so I’m so excited and can’t wait to play for this great club.
We saw the photos on social media of you wearing an Arsenal shirt as a kid, so it was all like that?
Yes, I remember it was in Donetsk when I was at Shakhtar Academy and like I said, it’s a dream come true.
You’ve just been welcomed to the training camp here in Florida, what were your first impressions?
It’s an amazing atmosphere you know everyone is so nice and all the staff here are amazing. I’ve heard a lot of good things from the Manchester City people about the medical staff or whatever, the people who work in the kitchen, the players and of course Gabriel Jesus. So I heard there is an amazing atmosphere here.
One of those people you knew from Manchester City is the boss. How important was he in your decision to sign?
I would say that’s the most important factor in my decision because I’ve known Mister for a while and used to work with him at Manchester City. I knew from day one at City that he was going to be a very good manager. The way he watches football, especially I watched the Arsenal games last season and really enjoyed it. You can see the image of the game in the style, so I would like to see it (while) playing and engaging.
What was your relationship like back then at Manchester City? How much did he help your game?
I was so impressed by the way we worked together because I remember how many times we worked hard in the training sessions and then right after with individual stuff and I took a lot from the manager and I hope I do can take even more.
And you mentioned Gabby, how well did you connect in training and games?
Oh to be honest we are very close and I love him so much. He’s my great friend and I’d like to say he was also involved in the discussions and all those things, so he told me a lot of good things about this great club and atmosphere and the guys and everyone here, so I’ I’m really impressed and so excited.
So you’ve been on the phone with him over the past few days and weeks?
I’m always in touch with him, even when he was at City or when he left, so I was always with him.
We’ve seen you play at left-back and midfield for your country, but what do you think is your best position?
Wherever the manager will see me on the pitches. It’s the simple answer but it’s true, even if one day the coach tells me I have to be a goalkeeper, I will be there.
What did the boss say to you about your role in the team?
Yes, we’ve talked about my role on this team, but I want to keep it private and then we’ll see.
You’ve won four Premier League titles, you’ve been voted Ukrainian Footballer of the Year – what do you think you’ll bring to this Arsenal team?
I’m ready for another challenge. I’m not just here to waste my time and Arsenal’s time because the club is always in everyone’s eyes. I’m here to achieve great things and I hope that we can win some titles and I hope that we will fight for every title that we are involved in. Even last season I was watching The Arsenal games and I could smell it coming, you know? The team is growing so fast and I think it’s about time. It’s time to do our best and achieve something great.
You will be our second Ukrainian after Oleg Luzhny, how proud are you to follow in his footsteps?
Yes I am so proud to be honest. He’s absolutely a Ukrainian legend and unfortunately I don’t know him personally, I haven’t had this opportunity yet, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about him and I’m so proud.
Have you played in the Emirates before, but surely you’re looking forward to donning the red jersey there?
One hundred percent! You found this picture from eight or nine years ago where you were wearing the t-shirt. I remember that day clearly, I really liked how it suited me so I don’t know people’s reaction but I really enjoy, even now, sitting with you.
How did you feel as you put on your t-shirt and met the rest of your team?
It’s amazing, honestly like I said it’s a dream come true and since I was a kid I couldn’t even dream of it but now it’s here so I’m so happy.
Copyright 2022 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted on condition that appropriate credit is given to www.arsenal.com as the source.