Three-and-a-half years after leaving Schalke to join Arsenal on a free transfer, Sead Kolasinac is returning to the Veltins-Arena on a six-month loan.
@seadk6 is back!
— FC Schalke 04 (@s04_en) December 31, 2020
Kolasinac has appeared 113 times since signing for the Gunners but has found his playing time drastically reduced this season, totaling just 727 minutes in nine appearances across all competitions. After Mikel Arteta's arrival as manager, the Bosnian international, perhaps best suited to a left wingback role, was often asked to play center back in a back-three formation.
Kolasinac has frequently been left out of the team this season in favor of new center back signing Gabriel or any number of combinations in a back three, while Kieran Tierney has emerged as Arteta's favored left back in a back four.
Arsenal technical director Edu said of the defender's return to Schalke: "Sead needs to be playing regularly, so we have decided together that a move back to Germany with Schalke will benefit him at this moment." Kolasinac will take a pay cut in order to gain sorely-needed playing time.
— Christian Falk (@cfbayern) December 31, 2020
The move represents the first in what will likely be a number of January departures if Arteta gets his way. He has made clear that his priority is to trim the squad of out-of-favor players.
“We have a large squad and we knew that." he said. "A lot of things that should have happened in the summer, we cannot accomplish for different reasons. There are some players that are going to go on loan and going to leave and that is the priority at the moment. We cannot sustain the numbers that we have in certain positions and we are looking to do that, and then we will see if we have the right opportunity in the positions where we need some more help."