Soccer

Mesut Ozil Arsenal replacements: Who can the Gunners bring in to add the attacking creativity they need?

Mesut Ozil is on the verge of completing his move to Fenerbahce from Arsenal and with Wiliam Saliba and Sead Kolasinac already loaned out, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi could be following them through the Emirates Stadium exit door before the end of the month. The ex-Germany international’s departure could free up a fair amount of space on the Gunners’ payroll as he would have earned around $10 million while the Greek and German defenders could potentially bring in transfer fees and add to any wage room freed up.

As reported by CBS Sports insider James Benge, one of Arsenal’s priority targets this month is Norwich City’s Emiliano Buendia but the Canaries’ asking price is potentially prohibitive and means that an alternative might need to be identified between now and the end of the window.

Here are some possibilities.

Dele Alli, Tottenham Hotspur

We will file this one under unlikely, if not impossible, solely because it is difficult to see the England international crossing the North London divide. Alli, 24, is arguably the highest profile name on the market right now in Arsenal’s position of need and the fact that Paris Saint-Germain are keen on adding him to Mauricio Pochettino’s squad will make him even harder to obtain. If Spurs are unwilling to let the former Milton Keynes Dons man leave on loan for Paris, their stance is only likely to harden further if their bitter rivals show interest.

Christian Eriksen, Inter Milan

Although he would not be universally popular with the Arsenal fanbase due to his Spurs past, the Denmark international is probably the most realistic name on the go this month. Inter Milan have publicly admitted that a split would be in the best interest of both parties and the Italians are interested in Udinese’s Rodrigo De Paul — who could potentially be a solution to Arsenal’s problem himself and is also wanted by the likes of Liverpool after Leeds United interest in the past — and PSG’s Leandro Paredes. Given that Spurs also have interest in bringing Eriksen back to London, Alli’s future could hold the key to this month’s market.

Julian Draxler, PSG

Perennially linked with Arsenal since his days with Schalke 04 and then VfL Wolfsburg, the Germany international is, like Eriksen, available this month. However, unlike the Dane, he already appears to have decided to stick out the remaining six months of his contract before leaving on a free this summer with an announcement on his future plans expected in March, according to BILD’s Christian Falk. CBS Sports sources say that PSG would be open to a loan or a permanent move this month.

Houssem Aouar, Lyon

Arsenal’s big transfer target last summer, the France international has struggled for consistency this campaign after resolving to get Olympique Lyonnais back into European competition. Currently challenging for the Ligue 1 title and with plenty of time left on his contract, Les Gones have no need to worry about the 22-year-old’s immediate future and can wait until this summer to discuss his potential sale with suitors such as Juventus. Memphis Depay’s future is currently the greater pressing matter at Groupama Stadium with his deal expiring at the conclusion of this term.

Marcel Sabitzer, RB Leipzig

A potential Arsenal-Spurs battle is on the cards for the Austria international with Leipzig expected to hold on to their captain until at least this summer, as detailed by CBS Sports’ Fabrizio Romano in his weekly Here We Go column. Similar to De Paul rather than Alli, Eriksen, Draxler and Aouar, Sabitzer is more all-action than just creation and would be a big addition to Mikel Arteta’s midfield. Once again, though, it appears that the Gunners would be wasting their time trying to get their hands on the 26-year-old before the end of the season.

Giorgian De Arrascaeta, Flamengo

Arsenal are no strangers to wildcard January signings and the Uruguay international would certainly be one of those. Currently with Flamengo in Brazil, the Gunners have done business with Mengao in the past for Pablo Mari and could tap into those contacts once more to secure a creative individual with the potential to make the leap to Europe. De Arrascaeta, 26, has been linked with Saudi side Al-Nassr recently and his club reportedly want upwards of $30 million for him. That price tag right now might not be realistic but a paid loan with an option or obligation to buy might be possible.



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