With two of their superstars currently in the last year of their contracts, Arsenal are heading into an intensely important period. Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez have both been smash hits since their arrivals to north London in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Nevertheless, the dynamic duo are most likely in the midst of their final season with the Gunners. The German international does have a bit of a chance to re-sign a new deal, but it remains to be seen if he will return or not.
As both could very well leave the club either in January or after the 2017/18 campaign, sufficient replacements need to be lined up. One player surfacing as a possible addition to the squad is Lyon’s Nabil Fekir. While news of an apparent £60 million bid is not exactly from an ultra-reliable source, Fekir has previously been linked with Arsenal. The 24-year-old is having a truly special season with the French club, as he has already managed to score 12 goals and add three assists in 15 total games so far.
Although Barcelona is also reportedly monitoring him as a possible plan B to Liverpool’s Coutinho, Fekir’s own father recently claimed that his son would be open to an Arsenal switch. “If [Nabil] leaves, it will be for Arsenal,” claimed the player’s father. “It’s the only club that can enable him to progress, with Arsene Wenger.”
Normally lined up as a number 10, Fekir would potentially be a like-for-like replacement for Özil. Both players prefer the same position, are creative, and are nimble on the ball. The Gunners could opt for this option and then bring in an additional winger/forward to help ease the loss of Sanchez. Julian Draxler, Thomas Lemar, and even Wilfried Zaha have all been linked with the Gunners as transfer targets in this position looking ahead.
Fekir, however, could also be used as a Sanchez replacement as well. Although more of a midfielder, the France international can be deployed out wide on the flank. He has a wonderful scoring instinct in front of a goal and could perform well in the ‘Sanchez role‘ for Arsenal. Fekir’s 11 goals currently rank third in Ligue 1 behind only Edinson Cavani and Falcao, and are five more than any other midfielder in the French league. Arsenal may go with this alternative, and then possibly elect to sign Emil Forsberg or Leon Goretzka to help fill Özil’s shoes.
The versatility of Fekir is just an added bonus to the type of player Arsenal could possibly receive. Under manager Arsene Wenger, Arsenal have a history of playing exceptionally attractive soccer. Quick passing, free-flowing ball movement is the club’s trademark, and Fekir’s playing style would seemingly fit right in at the Emirates.
Not only would Fekir aid with departures, but his close control and dribbling is also somewhat reminiscent of Santi Cazorla. The Gunners have sorely missed the injured Cazorla for the last year now, and would surely benefit from having a player with these kinds of qualities. Arsenal should do everything they can to secure Fekir, but the Frenchman should only be the beginning of the roster moves for Arsenal.
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