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According to reports, Arsenal are tracking Udinese midfielder Jakub Jankto. Gazzetta dello Sport reported in April that the Gunners had sent scouts to watch the 21-year old in action and now the player’s agent has revealed that the North London outfit are one of many that are monitoring the youngster.
Jankto’s representative, Beppe Riso said (as quoted by the Sun):
“Arsenal like him, he’s a lover of English football. He’s also liked by Juve, Inter and other teams. Still, he’s young, he’s 21 years old, he must be calm and he’s only thinking about Udinese.
“After that, we’ll see. Do I see him more in the Premier League than other Leagues? Yes.”
The Czech Republic midfielder was a revelation for the Serie A side last season and seems to have generated a lot of interest. And judging by his agent’s comments, there are good chances that Arsenal might get their hands on him if they act upon their initial interest. With that in mind, we take a close look at who Jakub Jankto is and why is he being chased by several top sides.
Born on 19 January 1996, in Prague, Czech Republic, Jankto started off his playing career with hometown club SK Slavia Prague. Having risen through the ranks, the midfielder broke into the first-team in the summer of 2014 but was signed up by Udinese shortly afterwards in July 2014.
Jankto spent his first season in Italy with the Udinese U-19 side, making 27 appearances in which he scored 4 times as well. In the 2015/16 season, the youngster was loaned out to Serie B side Ascoli, where he impressed heavily, scoring 5 goals and bagging 9 assists in 34 league outings.
Following his strong season on loan, Udinese brought him into the first-team ahead of last season. And the 21-year old repaid the club’s faith with some exceptional displays, finishing the 2016/17 campaign with 5 goals and 4 assists in 29 Serie A outings.
Jankto has been a regular fixture at all youth levels for Czech Republic and made his senior debut in March this year. Since then, he has played four times for them, scoring once.
Jankto is a central midfielder by trade, who can play in an advanced No.10 role and on the left-hand side of the midfield four as well.
Just a little over 6ft, the 21-year old is physically strong and uses his body well to shield the ball from his opponents. Very much in the mould of Santi Cazorla, Jankto may not be as supreme a passer as the Gunners’ very own Spaniard but has that knack to create and score by operating in the central midfield areas. Technically very strong, the youngster has that desire to run forward into the attacking third at every chance he gets and is a good set-piece taker too.
Jankto does need to improve his range of distribution, and the defensive side of his game needs work too, if he is to develop into a complete all-round midfielder. But the signs are very positive.
The 21-year old still has four years left on his current deal with the club, having signed a new contract only in April. But with interest from Arsenal, it is bound to turn his head. And the statements of his agent too, hint towards a transfer if there is a concrete attempt from the Gunners.
He may not be the finished article, but Jankto has shown great promise and can grow into an ideal replacement for the ageing and injury-ridden Santi Cazorla.