Arsenal have a few players with contracts expiring at the end of the year, so if they all end up leaving and the Gunners don’t want to make a big loss on transfers, perhaps Wenger should look at bringing in one or two freebies of his own.
Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Özil, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla; the list of important Arsenal players who could agree to jump ship in three months time seems to get longer every time I look at it.
But Arsenal aren’t the only club that have let some players get into their final year, so we’re going to take you through a few the Gunners might want to think about talking to:
1. José Giménez
Giménez is 22 years old and a very highly rated centre-back playing for a top team in Europe. It was rumoured this summer that Giménez was only sticking around at Atlético because he knew they couldn’t replace him thanks to their transfer ban. He’s also spoken about his dream to play in the Premier League in the past.
Arsenal have a couple of injury prone centre-backs (Koscielny and Mertesacker), one who wants out (Mustafi), two who probably still aren’t ready to hold down the defence on their own (Holding and Chambers) and the god amongst men that is Nacho Monreal. The Gunners could do with bringing in someone of Giménez’s potential, especially on a free.
2. Leon Goretzka
A tall central midfielder with an eye for a pass and a goal sounds good to me. Add in the overwhelming success that Sead Kolašinac has been so far in North London and bringing in a free transfer from Schalke looks like an even better idea.
Goretzka was on everyone’s radar over the summer after his impressive Confederations Cup showing, and perhaps it’s already too late to pry him away from Bayern Munich, but it’d be worth a shot in January.
3. Juan Mata
This one’s a bit more out of left field, but if Özil really is on his way out, Mata could be a decent replacement. He’s lived in London before, he’s never seemed particularly close with José Mourinho and he’s an attacking-midfielder who’s recently moved out onto the right-wing.
So, Mata could probably be convinced to come, and knows the two positions Mesut’s being used in. They’re even the same age. Arsenal could do a lot worse considering Mata wouldn’t cost a penny, but they would have to wait until May to negotiate with him.
4. Lionel Messi
Ok, not really, but if Messi continues to stall on his Barcelona contract (which he’s apparently agreed in principle but won’t put pen to paper on), English clubs could hypothetically negotiate with him in January.
Arsenal have no chance, but if I were Arsène Wenger I’d get him on the phone anyway, see if he has any interest in ruining his career. What’s the harm?
5. Emre Can
Can is young, has been in relatively good form with Liverpool lately and most fans think Arsenal need a central midfielder. Again, if he’s not going to cost you anything, why not take a chance on someone Liverpool are clearly very keen to hang onto?
Plus, it would be pretty funny if the Gunners ended up with Can, Liverpool got Oxlade-Chamberlain and Arsenal made £40m out of the trade. Which is obviously a great reason to buy someone.