Arsenal – Bodø-Glimt, Europa League: match in London is the best chance for Russian goalkeeper Nikita Khaikin to move to the Premier League

The main match in the career of the Russian goalkeeper! This is the best chance to move to the Premier League

Anatoly Romanov

Anatoly Romanov

The main match in the career of the Russian goalkeeper!

Khaikin needs to be dragged against Arsenal and British scouts will definitely celebrate his super saves.

In the 3rd round of the Europa League, we are following the performance of the Russians with special attention. Goalkeeper Nikita Khaikin will face a difficult test – his Bodø-Glimt will play Arsenal in London. The first team of England in its group of LE is only the second, and it is the Norwegians who are in the lead. However, Arsenal have played only one match so far, as their game against PSV was postponed. Mikel Arteta is not going to sacrifice the European Cup and has evaded a direct answer to the question of whether the Gunners will have a serious rotation of the roster.

Arsenal is the main discovery at the start of the season.  How the club achieved leadership
Arsenal is the main discovery at the start of the season. How the club achieved leadership

“We have to try to keep our momentum going. The best way to do this is to prepare every single day, focus on the task and everything we do. And stay humble. There are many things that we still need to improve. Maintaining the level of training is becoming easier every day, because the team is highly competitive. So everyone wants to take part in the game against Bodø-Glimt,” said the Arsenal coach.

For Haikin, two consecutive matches with Arsenal (in a week the teams will play in Norway) are probably career-defining. It’s no secret that the Russian goalkeeper is on the pencil of English clubs. A year ago, information appeared about the possible transfer of Nikita to Watford or Norwich. If Khaykin shines in meetings with the leader of the English championship, pulls out Bodø-Glimt with super saves, then his chances of being in the Premier League will increase significantly. For British scouts and coaches, successful games against top teams like Arsenal are by far the most revealing of a newcomer’s potential. Nikita admitted: if there is a choice between the RPL champion (that is, Zenit, where rumors were sent to the goalkeeper in the summer off-season) and the club from the basement of the Premier League, he would prefer the second option. Our legionnaire dreams of the most prestigious Premier League.

Khaikin has a British passport, which means that there will be no problems with obtaining a work permit in the Premier League. Moreover, Nikita studied football at the Chelsea, Portsmouth and Reading academies, so he is familiar with how the training process works in England. But before, the Russian goalkeeper did not play against English teams at a professional level, in his career there was only a match with the Scottish Celtic (3:1) in the playoffs of the last Conference League.

Haykin has 10 European appearances this season: eight in the Champions League qualification and two in the Europa League group stage. Nikita conceded 10 goals and gave out five crackers. The numbers are good, but the reliability of the Russian goalkeeper Bodø-Glimt is not really the one that could impress breeders from the top leagues. According to InStat, out of 31 shots on goal, Khaykin saved only 21, i.e. 68%. Nikita’s ability to play with his feet will be appreciated by any scout even for matches of the Norwegian championship, but still the most important element for a goalkeeper is still playing with his hands.

Nikita Khaikin

Nikita Khaikin

Photo: Perry van de Leuvert/Getty Images

In the last Euroseason, which was very successful for Bodø-Glimt, Khaikin helped out a little more often – he parried 70% of the blows. Even more noticeable is the difference in his statistics in the Norwegian championship. Reliability dropped from 80% (best in the league) to a very modest 65%. It is clear that the performance of our legionnaire was reflected in the overall decline at Bodø-Glimt: this season the champion is fighting only for second place, risking not even getting into the top 4 and flying past European cups. Nevertheless, some of the balls conceded by Nikita were “goalkeeper”, taken. The goalkeeper needs stability.

A football player from Russia is not allowed to go to Poland for a European Cup match.  How to solve this problem?
A football player from Russia is not allowed to go to Poland for a European Cup match. How to solve this problem?

Haikin’s contract with the Norwegian club ends on December 31, 2022. This means that already in the winter transfer window, Nikita can be taken as a free agent. This is another plus for those who want to sign a Russian, but the question is under what conditions. If Khaykin proves himself in matches with Arsenal, he should receive an offer corresponding to the status of the main goalkeeper. You can really start in England with an outsider in the Premier League or with one of the leaders of the Championship. Nikita is only 27 years old. Is this the age for a goalkeeper who, in addition, played late at a high level?

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