Long term Cazorla replacements

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The Arsenal November curse (if this really exists) seems to have struck again, with no win in 3 games. Although this year it hasn’t been as bad as past seasons, I prefer to think of it that we have played three top sides and not lost. One worrying thing which has been highlighted though is Arsenal poor performances, lacking any fluidity going forward from the back. Can this be linked back to the injury to Santi Cazorla?

His last game was in the 6-0 win against Ludogerorets, since this game I cant remember a match that Arsenal have been that convincing. We have had a poor 0-0 draw against Middlesborough, Giroud saving the day against Sunderland and Man Utd late on, a laboured 3-2 win against Ludogerorets and draws against Spurs and PSG where we were outplayed. Cazorla’s absence may not be the only issue, Ozil’s poor form and Sanchez fitness issues could also be a factor.

Wenger has also hinted that Cazorla is this years Wilshere/Rosicky/Diaby or Vermealen as he doesn’t know of an exact return date from injury. Couple this with Cazorla turning 32 next month Arsenal need to start looking elsewhere for his long term replacement. See below my thoughts on potential options:

Jack Wilshere: (Current Side: AFC Bournemouth – Loan – Age: 24)

I personally think we have missed Wilshere this season, ironically he hasn’t had an injury yet at Bournemouth and is putting in great performances week in week out.  He would be starting alongside Coquelin for me in the absence of Santi.  Would it be a risk to put all our eggs in the Wilshere basket going forward? If he can stay fit (BIG IF) he’s the guy to make us tick in the absence of Santi.

Leon Goretzka: (Current Side: Schalke 04 – Age: 21)

Another German midfielder off the conveyor belt. He fits the build as to what Arsenal require from a midfielder. Primarily a defensive midfielder, but a goal scoring one. At 6’2 in height he has the power Arsenal lack in midfield, age is on his side, he has captained Germany at younger age groups and he also has the ability to get forward and grab important goals. His passing and movement are a bit in question compared to the likes of Cazorla but this is something that can be worked on. His natural ability to control a midfield would be a huge bonus for Arsenal.

Koke: (Current Side: Athletico Madrid – Age: 24)

A well known player in European football, Koke has a very similar game to Santi Cazorla. Being comfortable in a deeper midfield role but also very technically sound. His knowledge of plays and vision is similar to that of Xavi Alonso. Such a signing would be a statement, the only question is if he would want to leave Athletico Madrid, if so it would be close to £50mil.

Manuel Lanzini: (Current Side: West Ham – Age: 23)

A bit of a surprise inclusion into the list of potential replacements to Cazorla but in my mind an able replacement. He has experience of the league and living in London and we have seen how much of a talent he is, at 23 he will only get better. Like Cazorla he is able to play in both the attacking positions or a deeper role. We saw in the Arsenal game away at Upton Park last season how he bossed the midfield, not with strength and power but with a clever football brain. The only downside is that West ham made his loan signing permanent at the start of this season, so there would be no sale unless its a outlandish price.

My choice would be to assess Jack Wilshere’s fitness at the end of the season and possibly giving him the chance to take over first.

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English core’s AFC future in the balance?

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If we cast our minds back to 2012, the sight of five Britain’s finest young stars signing a new contract was very exciting for Arsenal fans. A few weeks later we saw Theo Walcott also put pen to paper. At the time many of us thought that this could be our very own class of 92 and become the longterm back bone of the side. So fast forward 4 years, which of these players has actually progressed and which of the players will be shipped out?

 

Carl Jenkinson:

There was a time three seasons ago where many believed he could be the long term Arsenal right back. He even got a cap for England cap, mainly to stop him playing for Finland. The loan move to West Ham initially worked out pretty well for Jenkinson, putting in many good performances under Big Sam’s stewardship. Last season was a right off for Jenkinson, back at loan to West Ham, he’s performances were not to the standard of the previous season and then a long term injury ruling him out of the last 5 months of the season. It seems injuries are a reoccurring theme in this article.

Future: He looks like he is a good premier league player, but not good enough for Arsenal. Bellerin, Debuchy and Chambers are both ahead of him, he will find it hard to get anywhere near the starting line up. Another loan move or a permanent move away seems likely, with Sunderland being mentioned.

 

Aaron Ramsay:

Another player who has not hit the heights of the previous few seasons. His performances have been good but not anywhere near what we know he can do. Again injuries seem to have played a part, with little injuries keeping Ramsay out every now and then. Out of all Arsenal’s British core he probably did the best.

Future: Ramsay will stay at Arsenal and we hope he stays injury free, so he can get back to what he does best and score goals from midfield.

 

Jack Wilshere:

I hate to say it but Jack Wilshere is very close to be labeled the new Abu Diaby. I really hope i’m wrong and he has an injury free Euro 2016 and next season. If fit he is a star for Arsenal and England. Making 6 appearances for club and country so far this season is pretty poor.

Future: The next two season are make or break for Jack Wilshere at Arsenal. If he stays relativly injury free the next two seasons he probably will go on to be an all time great for Arsenal. If he doesn’t stay injury free I fear for his place in the Arsenal squad, what a shame that would be.

 

Kieron Gibbs:

Back in 2012 Gibbs was the most injury prone of the lot, surprisingly he probably has been the fittest of all the British players at Arsenal last season. He has not been bad when called upon but needs to do a lot more to challenge Nacho Monreal who overtook him. Arsenal have been heavily linked with Swiss LB Rodriguiz, which suggests Gibbs days could be numbered.

Future: I would like Gibbs to stay and fight for his place in the side. He clearly is a good left back, but sometimes switches off. I think he may be inline for a loan move away. Liverpool have previously been linked.

 

Alex Oxlaide Chamberlain:

He is one of the most exciting English youngsters in the country, but for some reason seems to not have progressed over the last few seasons. I was one who really thought this would be his year to kick on. He faces a task to get back ahead of Iwobi in the pecking order.

Future: Many top premier league clubs have been linked with The Ox and it seems that if Arsenal get the right price they might consider his sale. I would like to see him given at least one more season and really would be disappointed if we were to sell him to any rival club.

 

Theo Walcott:

Theo started the season on fire, looking sharp. This all went to pot after January. His confidence was shot, not being able to control the ball or run with the ball. Im sure the fan pressure and re-introduction of Danny Welbeck in the side from injury probably didn’t help for game time. His injury in January did seem to take away his form.

Future: It seems that the majority of fans want Walcott out now, i’m not one of them. But I feel that he will be sold for good money. West Ham have been mentioned as well as Leicester which both would be good moves for Theo.

Other British Players In since 2012:

Danny Welbeck – Like many of the other British players at Arsenal injuries played a major part of his season. Back in Dec/Jan of next season.

Callum Chambers – Didn’t feature hardly, had a few good games in centre midfield but is still far away from claiming a regular spot in Arsenal’s starting XI.

Jaime Vardy – Lets not jump the gun yet. He may not sign just yet.