Mesut Ozil is one of the important players at Arsenal but was criticized for the most part of last season as his performance in big games was shambolic and unacceptable for Gunners’ fans.
The German struggled to replicate the creative influence he exerted under former manager Arsene Wenger and during his time at Real Madrid, despite being played in a free role through the middle since Unai Emery took over.
Ozil’s high wages and Arsenal’s limited transfer budget makes it inevitable for the North London club to let him go, so they can reduce their overall wage bill. Arsenal need to find a player who can offer what the former Real Madrid midfielder can if not more as his game is already depreciating.
Ahead of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON), DailyAdvent takes a look at players who won’t cost the Gunners as they hope to replace Ozil in the summer, if he finally decides to leave.
5. Jean Michaël Seri (Fulham, Ivory Coast): The former Nice OGC midfielder was linked with a move to Arsenal last summer but he opted for a move to free-spending Fulham. Seri is known for his creativity in the centre of the park and he was unable to explore himself at Fulham who were not stable last season as they eventually got relegated from the English Premier League.
With Arsenal’s transfer low budget and the fact that Fulham are relegated, the Gunners can use the opportunity to lure the Ivorian to the Emirates as a perfect replacement for Ozil. He is not only known for his creative but also his physicality and energy through the course of a football match.
4. Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City, Nigeria): The Super Eagles midfielder moved to English Championship Stake City after the FIFA World Cup finals in Russia last summer and he immediately adapted to England’s style of play which earns him fans player of the year award.
The former Warri Wolves midfielder is one of Nigeria’s finest midfielders and he will be a plus for Arsenal if they actually opt for him as a replacement for the German. Arsenal need a player that can offer both power and creativeness in their midfield, criteria which Etebo perfectly fits in.
3. Yacine Brahimi (FC Porto, Algeria): Brahimi one of the finest players in Africa who plies his trade in Europe. He caught the eyes of so many European clubs last season after having a wonderful turn out for FC Porto in Portugal. He did the same the season as they missed out on the League with just two points.
He is not only creative in the midfield but can also offer a lot of goals too as a midfielder. He scored 10 goals for Porto last season and was rated as the fourth best player in the club according to Whoscored.com ratings.
Brahimi can bring in his scoring abilities into Emery’s side as they hope to challenge for Premier League next season, He will be representing his country Algeria at AFCON in Egypt.
2. Hakim Ziyech (Ajax, Morocco): Ziyech is arguably the best man for the job in replacing Ozil at Arsenal as he perfectly fits into Arsenal’s system due to Ajax style of play which is similar to Emery’s own.
Ozil is known for giving spectacular assist which the 26-year old also boasts of wonderful numbers in, but he offers more in terms of goals compared to former Real Madrid man. He scored 16 goals and delivered 13 assists which earned him the highest rated Ajax player last season on Whoscored.com standings.
Arsenal can get for as low as 25 million pounds which is his official figure in his contract with Ajax as his release clause.
1. John Mikel Obi (No Club, Nigeria): The Super Eagles captain is without a club after leaving Championship side Middlesborough at the end of the season. He earned so much praise from the fans during his short spell in the Championship. At some point, Middlesborough fans referred to him as ‘African Zidane’ due to his stunning performance for Borough.
Mikel is one of the creative players in Gernot Rohr’s AFCON squad and with Premier League experience in the bag, the former Chelsea midfielder can come into the Arsenal set up as Ozil’s replacement.
Do you think Ozil should be sold at the end of the season or remain at the club?