With Santi Cazorla ruled out for the most of last season and not expected back until Christmas at the earliest, here are five potential replacements for Arsenal.
With Santi Cazorla undergoing another surgery, the midfielder is expected to be out of the action for another five months at least.
The 32-year-old Spaniard has suffered lots of injuries lately, and it does seem his time at Arsenal is coming to an end. With a contract until the end of next season, the player who will turn 33 in December, isn’t expected to be offered another contract.
Despite bringing in the likes of Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny, Wenger has struggled to find a player with the much needed quality for the position. Xhaka managed to put in a few very good performances after taking a while to settle, but the lack of a Santi Cazorla is still visible on the pitch.
Here is a list of five potential summer signings that Arsenal have been reportedly tracking, hopeful that one of them can finally fill the void left by Cazorla.
1. Pablo Fornals
The 21-year-old Malaga CF player, Fornals is considered to be a rising star in Spain. He is comfortable playing as a deeper central midfielder or further up the field as a number 10. Over the last two seasons he has established himself as a first team player at Malaga, making 32 La Liga appearances last season while scoring six goals and assisting three times.
The youngster is showing great potential, and with the right guidance he could develop into a great player. The downside of the player is his pass completion of 79%, something he will need to work on if he joins Arsenal.
Expected price: £15 million
2. Marco Veratti
The current Paris Saint-Germain midfielder had a rather underwhelming season at Paris as Unai Emery wasn’t convinced by his performances. Veratti stated his desire to stay and fight for his place in the team, but could still find himself out of the club this summer.
The 24-year-old Italy international is seen as one of the best deep playmakers and could be a perfect replacement for ageing Cazorla. The Italian has plenty of experience and he could well adapt to Arsenal’s style.
Expected price: £55 million
3. Naby Keita
One of the best discoveries in the Bundesliga, RB Leipzig’s Naby Keita is slowly growing into a world class midfielder and it’s only a matter of time before one of the top European clubs sign him up. The 22-year-old Keita has often been compared with Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante but has shown a lot more potential, especially in the attacking third.
Keita made 31 Bundesliga appearances for RB Leipzig last season, contributing tremendously to the club’s second place finish and Champions League qualification with eight goals and eight assists. His greatest influence, however, is defensively where he brings stability and support.
Expected price: £25 million
4. Jean-Michael Seri
Possibly the best fit on the list to the current Arsenal squad alongside Naby Keita, is Jean-Michael Seri. Seri is a creative machine with great vision for picking a pass and enough defensive responsibility to provide cover for his teammates. Over the past few months the 25-year-old has been reported as a target for the likes of Totenham, PSG and Barcelona, but Arsenal are looking very determined to fight for the player.
He is the most creative player on the list and has the best pass completion percentage [90%] as well as the average of 0.26 assists per-game.
Expected price: £35 million
5. Oguzhan Ozyakup
The ex-Arsenal youngster and current Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup has currently declared that he’s ready to start playing on the biggest stage, and the club has agreed to sell him if a sufficient bid comes. In the meantime, the club offered a five year extension to the player, but the deal is yet to be agreed and seems unlikely.
The 24-year-old made 40 appearances for Besiktas last season, scoring five goals and grabbing 10 assists. A return to his youth club could be on the cards, but Ozyakup is probably the least likely player on this list to sign for Arsenal.
Expected price: £13 million