It is being reported that Arsenal have, once again, tried to get Inter Milan to buy Mesut Ozil, so with the club seemingly determined to shift him on in the summer, who could they replace him with?

Houssem Aouar

Aouar Lyon midfielder
Lyon’s French midfielder Houssem Aouar celebrates after scoring a goal during the Europa League (C3) football match Olympique Lyonnais (OL) versus Everton FC on November 2, 2017 at the Groupama Stadium in Decines-Charpieu, central-eastern France. Picture: JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Age: 20
  • Position: Central Midfield
  • Club: Olympique Lyonnais
  • Contract until: 2023
  • Estimated market value: £36m

Arsenal are said to be tracking Olympique Lyonnais star Houssem Aouar, according to reports.

The Daily Mail wrote that Arsenal have been scouting Aouar for the last 18 months, and they consider him someone who could replace Aaron Ramsey in North London, but the same could be true of Mesut Özil. The Lyon midfielder’s performances in this season’s Champions League have reportedly particularly caught Unai Emery’s eye.

The Week wrote that Aouar is ‘near the top’ of Emery’s list of players to sign. Although Chelsea were initially planning to rival Arsenal for the 20-year-old’s signature, they since turned their attention to Borussia Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic instead.

Aouar has six goals and four assists in 31 appearances for Lyon this season. He’s mostly playing in central midfield but has also spent some time on the left.

The youngster has also scored in both of his most recent u21 appearances for France. There were rumours that he might get a senior call-up before he picked up a knock immediately before the current international break.

A strong passer who contributes well defensively and counter-attacks impressively, Aouar could fit well in Emery’s side. We’ll see if Arsenal decide to move for him in the next couple of windows.

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isco real madrid v barcelona e1481201887732
Isco during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at Camp Nou on December 3, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.
  • Age: 26
  • Position: Attacking Midfield
  • Club: Real Madrid
  • Contract until: 2022
  • Estimated market value: £67.5m

Arsenal are reportedly watching the situation of Real Madrid playmaker Isco, as the 26-year-old struggles to start under new boss Santiago Solari.

Since Solari took over as manager of the La Liga side, Isco has found himself on the bench or out of the squad completely on a number of occasions.

It’s not as if Real are particularly suffering without him either. After a poor start to the season, they’ve shown some recent improvement under Solari, despite dropping Isco out of the starting eleven. As a result, the rumours of an exit are starting to return.

The Daily Mail wrote that Arsenal are ‘watching the situation’, and they list the club as one of three Premier League sides the midfielder could end up joining. The other two are Chelsea and Manchester City, so it’s fair to say there’s competition.

The Mail also went on to point out that although Isco has played under Emery before, at Valencia, the two didn’t necessarily always see eye-to-eye. The Real Madrid man felt he deserved more first-team game time, after making most of his appearances for the Valencia B team in 2009/10 and 2010/11. He then left for Malaga in 2011.

Nonetheless, Emery did give the playmaker his senior debut, so there are positives and negatives to the story. Perhaps the Arsenal head coach could rekindle the relationship now that Isco is an established player.

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Pablo Fornals

VALENCIA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 04: Pablo Fornals of Malaga CF celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the La Liga match between Valencia CF and Malaga CF at Mestalla stadium on December 4, 2016 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
  • Age: 22
  • Position: Attacking Midfield
  • Club: Villarreal
  • Contract until: 2022
  • Estimated market value: £22.5m

Arsenal are reportedly considering a £17.8m move for Pablo Fornals as links with the player surface again.

Arsenal have been linked with Villarreal’s Pablo Fornals for some time now. In fact, he was once named as a possible Santi Cazorla replacement long before we even knew Santi would be leaving.

The midfielder has a £17.8m release clause according to this latest report and that has caught the attention of Arsenal who are said to be prepared to meet it.

An established first-team regular with Malaga before paying his own release clause of £10m to join Villarreal in 2017, Fornals has three goals and four assists this season in 28 games.

An attacking midfielder with a strong shot from distance, who is able to hold onto the ball well and loves a tackle, Fornals currently wears the number 8 for Villarreal.

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Yannick Carrasco

carrasco bel
Yannick Carrasco playing for Belgium
  • Age: 21
  • Position: Left Winger
  • Club: DL Yifang
  • Contract until: 2021
  • Estimated market value: £18m

Carrasco is a winger, rather than a number 10 like Özil, but that might actually help him fit better in Unai Emery’s system. Either way, he would replace some of the creativity Arsenal would lose without the German. Carrasco notched 16 assists in 54 games for Atletico Madrid and Dalian Yifang in the last season and a half, as well as 11 goals.

Sky Sports pundit and Belgian football expert Kristof Terreur spoke to the Transfer Talk Podcast and admitted that the 25-year-old had been offered to Arsenal. He added that it was going to be difficult for Arsenal to finance such a move in January, but didn’t rule out the possibility of a summer transfer, confirming that the club are looking for a winger.

Some other recent reports went even further. There were claims that Arsenal were in ‘advanced talks’ to sign the winger, with his wife suggesting clubs like the Gunners and Manchester United are ‘very interested’. Rumours in January also suggested Arsenal had held a ‘successful meeting’ with Carrasco’s agent.

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Ruben Neves

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 03: Ruben Neves of Wolves scores from the penalty spot during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur at Molineux on November 03, 2018 in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 03: Ruben Neves of Wolves scores from the penalty spot during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur at Molineux on November 03, 2018 in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
  • Age: 21
  • Position: Defensive Midfield
  • Club: Wolves
  • Contract until: 2023
  • Estimated market value: £36m

Arsenal and Manchester City are interested in Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Ruben Neves, who prefers to stay in the Premier League than move abroad, according to reports in Portugal.

Neves certainly wouldn’t be a direct replacement for Mesut Özil, playing a much more defensive role, but perhaps that could hint at a change in style under Unai Emery. He’s already trialled a couple of teams without the use of a traditional number 10, for example in the 5-1 win against Fulham.

The Neves story actually started in Italy, with Tuttosport (via Sport Witness) reporting that Juventus had met with Jeorge Mendes over a possible move for the Wolves man. However, Portuguese outlet Record then took over, claiming Neves would rather stay in the Premier League, where he’s already wanted by Arsenal and Manchester City.

Neves has been a crucial part of Wolves’ success over the last season and a half. After leaving Porto for the then Championship side, the midfielder helped his new team on an impressive promotion push. Since then, he’s been just as effective in the Premier League.

The 21-year-old is a very well rounded midfielder. He can pass, he has a deadly long-shot, he can take free kicks, and he’s also good at winning the ball back and staying focused out of possession.

Playing a more defensive position in the Wolves side, Neves perhaps doesn’t get involved in the goals as much as other midfielders. That’s not really his job though. Nonetheless, he has scored a few goals this season, including one against Spurs and one against Liverpool.