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Trusty The Process

By Sumaiya Vawda

On Friday, Birmingham City announced the signing of Arsenal defender Auston Trusty on a season-long loan. A loan was touted by official Arsenal communication upon his January 2022 signing, but where does he fit in the medium-term plans of the club?

Trusty was signed from the Colorado Rapids, where he remained until the conclusion of the 21/22 season. The MLS side, like Arsenal, falls under the KSE umbrella, leading sceptics to believe the signing was purely marketing-based. Additionally, Trusty's final months in Burgundy disappointed fans of the team. This may be partially attributed to poor defending from the front, which often left the young defender in difficult 1v1 positions.

Yet the 23-year-old has shown promise in his deployment as the left centre-back in a back 3. His progressive passing and shot-creating actions place him among the MLS's leading group of ball-playing centre-backs. His body strength and clean tackling technique have also been widely praised.

How will he fare in the Championship? It's difficult to infer how his skill-set will translate to England's second division, but being 6'3" and left-footed could help his playing prospects. Last season, Birmingham placed 20th of 24 teams with one of the worst-performing defences in the league. Marc Roberts was a central defensive mainstay for the Blues, but after him, no central defender played more than 18 90s (from a total of 46). This spread of playing time shows that there is room for Trusty to make the left-sided centre-back role his own. His use on the left of a defensive trio makes him a left-field shout to occasionally fill in as an inverted left-back when a back four is utilised, as the departing Kristian Pedersen has vacated this position.

Auston Trusty's planned loan is no William Saliba saga 2.0. For one, the latter's talent has been undoubted amongst European scouts, where Trusty's signing carries a fragrance of branding over substance. It will be interesting to track Trusty's progress over a gruelling Championship season where he'll be a teammate to Arsenal villain Troy Deeney. If the loan goes swimmingly, he may emerge as an option for the USMNT squad, improving his overall value. Whether that is enough to hop on the Arteta process train remains to be seen.

This loan will be informative as to whether he could cut it in the Premier League or if he basically serves to strengthen ties between KSE franchises and earns Arsenal a decent transfer fee.

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