Arsenal will be in desperate search of a new playmaker in the January transfer window as they look to find a replacement for Mesut Ozil.
Arsenal have a Mesut Ozil problem.
The German superstar, once revered as the best playmaker in the world, has endured a rapid fall from grace. His problems off the pitch, including an attempted carjacking, has been followed by problems on it, with the ex-Real Madrid notably getting omitted from Arsenal’s Premier League squad this season.
It has led to an overall lack of creativity from Mikel Arteta’s men, especially in the ongoing campaign. Indeed, the Gunners are lagging in every possible department going forward – starting from 5th least attempts on goal to 4th least chance creation in the final third.
The wingers have provided very little penetration and with Ozil likely to leave the club after his contract expires next summer, it appears Arsenal are in desperate need of a new playmaker. The north Londoners already had a busy summer, notably roping in Thomas Partey and Gabriel Magalhaes. And they may have no choice but to yet again scour the market for a new player in the upcoming January transfer window.
It gives us an excellent opportunity to look over a few players who can fit the bill at Arsenal and most importantly, under Mikel Arteta. We are also specifically listing realistic options, who have a chance of leaving their respective clubs in January.
Isco – Real Madrid
By far the most experienced option on this list, Isco’s potential arrival at Arsenal could make sense for multiple reasons. He has racked up almost 300 appearances in La Liga while winning four Champions League titles and two league titles among many others at Real Madrid. He could thus bring the experience as well as the winning mentality to the setup.
From a tactical perspective, Isco is quite a versatile number ten. He can feature out wide if necessary and is much more potent when compared to Ozil. In addition, the Spaniard can play as a central midfielder if needed.
The 28-year-old is primarily known for his nimble footwork that allows him to drift past defenders with ease. His dynamic style of play is ideally suited to Arteta’s philosophy as well.
Isco could thus be the perfect fit in the number ten position, should the Arsenal manager use the 4-2-3-1 formation. Alternatively, he can feature as an attacking midfielderb in the 4-3-3 or can even partner Partey in a 3-4-3, though that could be risky unless Arteta plays someone like David Luiz in the backline.
In the past few years, however, Isco has endured a steady decline, primarily due to his lack of game-time under Zinedine Zidane. But there is no doubt over the fact that his experience and quality could make him an ideal replacement for Ozil at Arsenal, who have even been linked with a move for the playmaker in recent weeks.
Isco does not appear to have any future at Santiago Bernabeu while his contract expires in 2022. It means Real Madrid must cash in on him next summer, but it won’t be surprising to see if they are open to sending the playmaker out on loan in January in an attempt to increase his value – making him a very gettable target for Arsenal.
Julian Draxler – Paris Saint-Germain
Another player who is struggling with a lack of game-time at a top European club, Julian Draxler could an interesting replacement for Ozil for a multitude of reasons.
Both are Knappenschmiede graduates who specialise in creating chances through smart movement and clever passes. While Ozil is more gifted when it comes picking out passes, Draxler offers more dynamism. The ex-Wolfsburg superstar is also quite versatile, as he can operate in the wider attacking positions as well.
The 27-year-old is no stranger to success either, having notably won the 2014 FIFA World Cup with Germany while securing three Ligue 1 and French Cup titles. He has made over 150 appearances in the Bundesliga and almost 100 appearances in Ligue 1, essentially meaning that Draxler can not only inject a winning mentality but also bring experience to the table for Arsenal.
From a tactical perspective, the PSG playmaker should easily fit into a number ten position. But in Arteta’s setup, the German international can operate as a partnering central midfielder to Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka. Alternatively, he can be deployed out wide, ahead of Nicolas Pepe or Willian.
However, what makes Draxler such an appealing target for Arsenal is the fact his contract at PSG expires at the end of the season. It means the German could be available for a cut-price fee in January and that is when the Gunners should pounce, although the player has shown no desire to leave Paris as such.
Daichi Kamada – Eintracht Frankfurt
Daichi Kamada is by far the most interesting and least popular name on this list. He is, however, regarded as one of the up and coming talents in the Bundesliga, having enjoyed immense success at Eintracht Frankfurt.
Indeed, the Japanese international, who initially joined Frankfurt back in 2017, has now established himself as a vital member of the Eagles’ squad. He is, in fact, the creator-in-chief in Adi Hutter’s setup, having already notched up six assists in nine matches so far, thus matching his overall tally for the entirety of last season.
Daichi Kamada just kept going, and going, and going ?
The finish isn't bad either ? pic.twitter.com/Js4v90lGO3
— Goal (@goal) June 15, 2020
An attacking midfielder by trade, Kamada’s style of play resembles the dynamic nature of Tottenham superstar Son Heung-min. The 24-year-old loves to take on defenders and has excellent footwork makes it almost impossible for the opposition to attempt a tackle.
However, it is Kamada’s brilliant vision and selfless nature that has made him one of the most sought-after playmakers in the Bundesliga this season. The Frankfurt man has been notably averaging over three key passes per game so far – a tally only bettered by Bayern Munich star Thomas Muller.
It should be noted, however, that Kamada’s contract still runs until 2023. And while the Japanese international is certainly not an unrealistic target for Arsenal, it appears the Gunners may have to pay a fortune in order to attain his services.
In this case, the move may hinge on the departure of Ozil in January. But one thing is for certain – Kamada is going to become the next big thing in the Bundesliga and is more than a capable replacement for the ex-German international.