Arsenal’s number 10, Mesut Ozil, seems to have his days at the club numbered as he has fallen out of favour with manager Unai Emery in recent months.
The Spanish manager who favors a hardworking high pressing style of play, has dropped Ozil to the bench for the entire 90 minutes several times this season.
While he has been excellent when called on, the boss just doesn’t seem to fancy him and reports now have it that the club are ready to listen to offers for their highest earner, with some team such as Inter Milan said to have interest in the former German international.
We now look at five creative and affordable players who could replace the playmaker if he leaves the Emirates this summer.
- Juan Mata: While he wouldn’t be the most ideal replacement for Ozil given that he is a couple of months older than the German and will be 31 in the summer, he represents a potentially very affordable and quality short term option for the club.
The Spaniard’s contract at Manchester United is set to expire in the summer, when he would be able to move on a free, and he doesn’t look to be willing to sign a new deal at Old Trafford after being sidelined by former manager Jose Mourinho for most of the Portuguese’s time at the club.
He has the advantage of having already worked with Emery before during his days at Valencia and has loads of Premier league experience all potentially for free.
- Kai Havertz: The Bayer Leverkusen youngster who is one of the finest talents in German football at the moment could be a like for like replacement for Ozil.
He is known for his natural ability to pick a pass and score a goal or two, and is also athletic (a quality that is missing in Ozil and wanted by Emery)
He has scored four goals this season and has assisted a further three goals, earning him his first call up to the German national team.
While he is highly rated, the Gunners could still get him at an affordable price if they can convince Leverkusen to sell.
At 19 and with over 50 Bundesliga appearances under his belt, Havertz could be Arsenal’s number 10 for the next decade.
- Julian Draxler: Arsenal fans will be very familiar with the German international having seen their club linked with moves for the player on numerous occasions and coming close to signing him on one occasion.
The talented attacking midfielder who is happy to also play on the flanks comes with very good technique and work rate which would fit in perfectly with Emery’s high pressing and occasional change of shape.
He has experienced playing under Emery when the Spanish coach was managing PSG and shouldn’t take long to fit into the current team.
Given that he would earn just around half of what Ozil current earns, a move for him would be a smart one.
- Suso: The former Liverpool midfielder failed to make the cut in the Premier League during his time at Anfield before moving to AC Milan where he has gone on to establish himself as a top-class playmaker.
Playing on the right flank for Milan, he has been their major creative outlet at the San Siro and at 25, this would be the right time to sign him
While there might be concerns over how he fared in the Premier league during his days at Liverpool, it is worth noting that a certain star player who currently plays for Liverpool was considered a flop during his earlier days in the league before moving to the Serie A , establishing himself and returning to take the league by storm.
Suso is almost certain to do the same, but the Gunners will have their work cut out trying to convince him to make the switch.
- Marco Asensio: A few months ago, the Spanish international would have seemed unaffordable for the Gunners, but now his value would be well within their reach, not because they’ve gotten richer, but because his value has dropped.
Madrid’s poor form this season and managerial changes now mean that Asensio who had the world at his feet last season is now on the periphery at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Much like Isco, while his talent is undoubted, the new manager’s system doesn’t favor his style of play.
Asensio would represent a direct replacement if not an upgrade to Ozil with the right guidance and he comes with a lot of experience at the top level, having won back to back Champions league titles and played at the World Cup at his young age.
Should Arsenal sign any of the above-mentioned players, the odds are very high that Ozil will not be missed if he leaves.
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