Tactical Analysis: Who is reported Arsenal target Shakhtar Donetsk forward Manor Solomon?

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Arsenal have been linked with a January move for Shakhtar Donetsk forward Manor Solomon but who is he and should the Gunners sign him?

Tactical Analysis: Who is reported Arsenal target Shakhtar Donetsk forward Manor Solomon?

Arsenal’s attacking needs

Arsenal this season have been a little enigmatic when it comes to their form. Looking at recent results it would appear that there isn’t too much wrong after wins against Chelsea, Brighton and West Brom followed by an FA Cup third-round victory against Newcastle.

However, the early part of the season began a run of poor form which extended up until the festive period. Arsenal failed to win more than a single game in 10 league attempts and a lack of creativity and clinical goalscoring was at the forefront of these issues.

It has only been since Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith-Rowe have been added into the Arsenal line-up, in addition to the upturn in form of Alexandre Lacazette, where the fortunes of Mikel Arteta’s side have begun to turn. Although, Martinelli was once again injured in the pre-match warm-up for the Newcastle match which could have caused a rethink of January transfer plans.

Tactical Analysis: Who is reported Arsenal target Shakhtar Donetsk forward Manor Solomon?

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 22: Gabriel Martinelli of Arsenal is helped off as he replaced due to injury during the Carabao Cup Quarter Final match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on December 22, 2020 in London, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

The extent of the Brazilian’s injury is still yet to be determined however after recovering from a serious knee injury, further complications in the ankle area are only going to make Arsenal’s possible need for reinforcement in the wide areas more of a priority.

Other Hale End Academy graduate Bukayo Saka has flourished since his consistent selection in the senior squad. Yet in contrast, fellow academy graduate Reiss Nelson has not had such luck. Furthermore, the addition of the experienced Willian and the club-record signing of Nicolas Pepe have also not returned the investment which the club has put into both players in regards to transfer and signing-on fees and wages.

This has been led to reported links with attacking targets in wide areas such as Shakhtar Donetsk forward Manor Solomon. In an exclusive piece by The Gooner Fanzine, the Israeli forward has supposedly been a player that Arsenal are looking at and a source close to the player has said a move to Arsenal would be one he could not turn down.

“We prefer to move in the summer but if a club like Arsenal comes in for you in January, you don’t say no. Edu likes the boy.” 

Who is Manor Solomon?

Ukrainian heavyweights Shakhtar Donetsk are known for their signings made from the Brazilian market which has seen current Arsenal wide man Willian come through their ranks. This is in addition to players such as Douglas Costa, Fred, Alex Teixeira and Bernard. However, the Ukrainian champions have also succeeded by acquiring talent from elsewhere such as Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Manor Solomon was acquired from his home nation club of Maccabi Petah Tikva in Israel in 2019. Now 21 years of age he has established himself as a regular in the Shakhtar setup.

101 spoke to Ukrainian football expert Andrew Todos at Zorya Londonsk to get more insight on the player.

“A lot of his early years at the club were as a bit-part player, especially in his first full Champions League season in 2019/20 when he came off the bench twice to score against Manchester City and Atalanta.”

“Since arriving, he started out on the right where he had been playing with his former club. However he has been deployed as an attacking midfielder and more recently on the left. He has slowly been replacing the well-known Brazilian Taison who is gradually ageing.”

Heat Map 2020/21 Manor Solomon. (Source: Wyscout)

Heat Map 2020/21 Manor Solomon. (Source: Wyscout)

Andrew speaks about one of his key strengths being his dribbling skills and how he is able to take on opponents and get his side into advantageous positions using his technical quality.

“He is predominantly a very good dribbler. Very technical with a low centre of gravity. He likes to keep the ball at his feet and can take on a number of players, beat them and have the strength to hold off players as well,” he said.

Solomon runs onto the ball with his incredible speed and attacks down the left flank.

Solomon runs onto the ball with his incredible speed and attacks down the left flank.

Riding the challenge from the Czech Republic international player he continues to push forward into the final third.

Riding the challenge from the Czech Republic international player, he continues to push forward into the final third.

Upon reaching the box, he sends a cross in to a teammate's head.

Upon reaching the box, he sends a cross on to a teammate’s head.

Playing against Real Madrid, he picks up the ball on the left-hand side and is closed down immediately by multiple Los Blancos players.

Playing against Real Madrid, he picks up the ball on the left-hand side and is closed down immediately by multiple Los Blancos players. Seeing the space made ahead of him, he accelerates quickly into the vacant area beating his man.

In this opportunity, I'm more experienced player may look up to see the cross field pass which is on but unfortunately in this instance Solomon decides to continue his run which eventually leads to a loss of possession.

In this opportunity, a more experienced player may look up to see the cross field pass which is on but unfortunately in this instance Solomon decides to continue his run which eventually leads to a loss of possession.

This above example is one of the weaknesses identified in his game. Whilst an excellent dribbler and someone that can certainly take on a number of players, the timing of the release of the ball can sometimes be a little late having taken on too many during one dribble. However, with coaching, this can be something very easily changed and tweaked to make him a better player.

“He’s also very composed for a young player when getting into goal scoring positions, he doesn’t slip up. He’s good at finishing the chances which he creates for himself and when it comes to making a key pass is always there to do that,” said Andrew.

Being found on the right hand side, Solomon charges towards the opposition box and attacks the space open to him.

Being found on the right hand side, Solomon charges towards the opposition box and attacks the space open to him.

Having brought the ball into a goal scoring position his strike is low and Powerful and the keypad is unable to hold it and Solomon converts the chance in composed fashion.

Having brought the ball into a goal scoring position his strike is low and Powerful and the keypad is unable to hold it and Solomon converts the chance in composed fashion.

His goal against Real Madrid came in instinctive fashion. As Tete brings the ball forwards and to the left of the goal, Solomon moves forward and into the space available for the back heel.

His goal against Real Madrid came in instinctive fashion. As Tete brings the ball forwards and to the left of the goal, Solomon moves forward and into the space available for the back heel.

Having received the ball, he takes a touch to the right before striking a low powerful shot past Thibaut Courtois.

Having received the ball, he takes a touch to the right before striking a low powerful shot past Thibaut Courtois.

Should Arsenal choose to pursue a deal for Manor Solomon it would come with the risk attached of a player who has only played at senior level in the Ukrainian Premier League and to a lesser extent in the Champions League. He is also not a guaranteed starter for Shakhtar, still battling for a regular place in the side.

Andrew Todos quotes the fee for Solomon between €25-35 million which is a lot of money for a player who is yet to prove himself on a consistent basis. Arsenal also have wide players available to them in the form of Saka, Martinelli, Nelson, Willian, Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who can play in a wider area also.

The more pressing needs for The Gunners are in central midfield, creative midfield, goalkeeper and centre back, splashing out a serious amount of money on a player of Solomon’s profile seems a little luxurious for a club whose finances are typically tight especially during the January window.

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This article was edited by Josh Barker.

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# Team MP D P
1 Liverpool FC 17 16 33
2 Manchester United FC 16 9 33
3 Leicester City FC 17 10 32
4 Tottenham Hotspur FC 16 14 29
5 Manchester City FC 15 11 29
6 Southampton FC 17 7 29
7 Everton FC 16 6 29
8 Aston Villa FC 15 13 26
9 Chelsea FC 17 11 26
10 West Ham United FC 17 3 26
11 Arsenal FC 17 1 23
12 Leeds United 17 -3 23
13 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 17 -6 22
14 Crystal Palace FC 17 -7 22
15 Newcastle United FC 16 -8 19
16 Burnley FC 15 -11 16
17 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 17 -7 14
18 Fulham FC 15 -10 11
19 West Bromwich Albion 17 -28 8
20 Sheffield United FC 17 -21 2
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 13
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur FC 12
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United FC 11
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 11
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 11
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur FC 10
Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 10
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace FC 8
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United FC 8
Rashford, Marcus Manchester United FC 7
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 7
Lacazette, Alexandre Arsenal FC 7
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 6
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 6
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion FC 6
Abraham, Tammy Chelsea FC 6
Grealish, Jack Aston Villa FC 5
Firmino, Roberto Liverpool FC 5
Barnes, Harvey Leicester City FC 5
Soucek, Tomas West Ham United FC 5

Source: 101greatgoals.com