Vlad Dragomir: Who is Romanian Arsenal wonderkid dubbed ‘the next Toni Kroos’?


IT is safe to say that Arsenal are not short of talent emerging from their youth team.

18-year-old Krystian Bielik, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Gedion Zelalem are just three names hoping to make the step up to first team football in the near future.

 Vlad Dragomir is another one of Arsenal's emerging stars

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Vlad Dragomir is another one of Arsenal’s emerging stars

But one player, who has gone under the radar at the Gunners, could reach the very top if he reaches his full potential.

Arsenal paid Romanian side ACS Poli Timisoara £100,000 for Dragomir – a sizeable chunk of money for a 16-year-old.

And despite Arsenal under-23’s heavy 5-0 defeat against Everton on Monday, Dragomir was one of the Gunners’ bright sparks in a disappointing display.

 Vlad Dragomir speaks with Arsenal youth team coach Ryan Garry

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Vlad Dragomir speaks with Arsenal youth team coach Ryan Garry
Granit Xhaka scores wonder goal for Arsenal against Hull City

But who is the man dubbed ‘the next Toni Kroos’?

Early days…

Dragomir was spotted by Arsenal scouts whilst he captaining Romania’s under-16 side and quickly fought off other clubs in Europe, including Inter Milan, for his signature last summer.

After penning a three-year contract with the club, Dragomir said that he felt life in London was his ‘place’.

He said: “I am very glad I hope not to disappoint anyone.

“The Arsenal offer seemed the best to me, I felt that this is my place.”

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So, what’s his playing style?

A left-footed creative forward, Dragomir has the distinctive ability to find space in attacking positions and has an eye for a pass.

But unlike Mesut Ozil, Dragomir works extremely hard off the ball and hustles defenders leaving them little time on the ball.

In the match against Everton, his class was evident when he picked up the ball on the right touchline, cut inside on his favoured left foot and threaded an inch perfect pass to the striker who couldn’t find the net.

Whilst his work-rate does not go unnoticed by the coaches, Dragomir will be hoping to improve his composure in front of goal as his experience grows.

Arsenal beat Hull 4-1 with Alexis Sanchez grabbing two goals and missing a pen

Any chance of first team football?

At the age of 17, Dragomir still has quite a journey until he features in the first team but that hasn’t stopped Wenger in allowing the youngster to gain experience with the first team.

After impressing with the under-18 squad, Wenger allowed Dragomir to train with the senior squad and has been snapped getting stuck into challenges with Alexis Sanchez.

The Gunners eye the Romanian as their project and expect him to go out on loan within the next two years.

 Ronaldinho is one of Vlad Dragomir's idols

Ronaldinho is one of Vlad Dragomir’s idols

Who are his footballing heroes?

In an interview with Arsenal, Dragomir revealed that Ronaldinho was his idol growing up followed by former Barcelona captain Carles Puyol and Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

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