We are still several months away from the summer transfer window opening, and already we are seeing players from around Europe being linked with a move to Arsenal, while also reading reports that some could be on their way out of the Emirates at the end of the season – the two biggest names being Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.
Both Sanchez and Ozil’s contracts expire at the end of next season with no signs of either committing to a new deal. Recent reports now claim the duo will both depart if Arsene Wenger signs a new deal – funny to think this as Ozil said his future at Arsenal will depend on the Frenchman staying, but then later retracting this statement by saying it doesn’t if the manager leaves. There is so much going on, so much being reported that you don’t have a clue what’s real and what’s fake news.
Another first-team player that has been attracting interest is Hector Bellerin. Apparently, Barcelona are preparing to launch a £35million bid for the Spaniard this summer as they look to fill the void left by Dani Alves last summer. Although signing a new long-term deal, expressing his admiration for Wenger and Arsenal football club, the right-back also said that being linked to his former club is ‘special’, fuelling speculation that he could jump ship this summer.
Other names are on the potential exodus list this summer, the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere, David Ospina and Kieran Gibbs are to name but a few.
But the main three, in my opinion, are the three mentioned earlier – Ozil, Sanchez and Bellerin. Many fans will worry should the trio exit Arsenal this summer, and for good reason – they are key members of our first-team. However, there are replacements out there that could fill their boots.
If Bellerin leaves then Arsenal should go all out to bring in Monaco right-back Djibril Cisse. The France international has been immense for the Ligue 1 club this season and would be a like-for-like replacement for Bellerin. At 24, Sidibe has the potential to be one of Europe’s finest right-backs. He is strong in the tackle, pacey going forward, reads the game well and is defensively tactful. He was a target for Arsenal last summer when at Lille but opted for a move to Monaco as he was assured more game time at the time. However, he has recently stated that he would consider a move to Arsenal this summer, but only if he is assured regular action, which he would be if Bellerin leaves for Barcelona.
Ozil has divided the opinion of the Arsenal faithful since his arrival from Real Madrid three years ago, even pundits have their view on the German. He isn’t the most hardworking player to wear the Arsenal shirt and does look disinterested at times, but the guy has got the ability, therefore many fans get frustrated by Mesut because show it consistently. As stated earlier, it’s believed he turned down Arsenal’s latest contract offer of £280,000-a-week, with the club not willing to go past the £300,000 mark. So, should Ozil leave, there are plenty of other players like the German who could fill the void. James Rodriguez, Lorenzo Insigne, Ross Barkley has been mentioned, but the man I believe the Gunners should target is Isco. The Real Madrid playmaker had struggled to feature consistently under Zinedine Zidane this season at the Bernabeu which could see the Spaniard hand a transfer request in this summer. The 24-year-old plays with composure, has creativity wealth and looks a type of player that should be playing for Arsenal. He is a realistic target for the Gunners, but if he isn’t available then Insigne or Reus wouldn’t be a bad shout.
As for replacing Sanchez, many will believe this isn’t possible. But we have lost better in the past, so why can’t we fill the void? Of course, his departure would be a blow for the club, but we have to move on if he decides to this summer. So, who do we get to fill his potential space? Again, there are so many options out there, Alvaro Morata, Kylian Mbappe, Alexandre Lacazette and Andrea Bellotti are to list but a few. However, I believe Lacazette should be the man that comes in. The French striker has been lethal for Lyon in the past two seasons or so and it is understood that he is seeking a new challenge and aiming to come to the Premier League. Mbappe would also be a great signing, but at only 18-year-old, I think the pressure could get to him playing for a club like Arsenal. Mbappe needs more development and fine tuning before Arsenal, I believe, make a move for him in the future. Lacazette is at the top of his game now, and it could be the right time for the Gunners to finally land the France international.
So, there you have it. Should Bellerin, Ozil and Sanchez all depart, or even one or two of them, then the names that I’ve listed should come in to replace those that leave – and they are all realistic targets.