Tag Archives: Hakim Ziyech

5 Mesut Ozil replacements identified

Nabil Fekir

The talented Frenchman was close to joining Liverpool last summer, only for a deal to fall through at the eleventh hour due to a suspect knee issue. The failed medical came as a surprise to both Fekir and his club, Lyon

This season he has played 48 games for club and country. His knee might be a “ticking time bomb” and it just did not go off last season.

With 12 goals and 9 assists this season, he has backed up his 23 goals and 9 assists from 2018/19. A duel threat of being able to score and assist, he has to be top of the list as a Mesut Ozil replacement.

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has reportedly said that Fekir will leave this summer due to his contract expiring at the end of next season.

Only 25-years-old, Arsenal would have to match the five year contract worth around £140,000 a week that Liverpool had agreed last season.

Hakim Ziyech

With a reported £25million release clause, Hakim Ziyech has come to a lot of peoples attention following Ajax’s run to the Champions League semi-final.

With 19 goals and 16 assists last season, the Moroccan international is at his peak.

The concern is those goals and assists have come in a poor Dutch league.

Last season Brighton signed Alireza Jahanbakhsh, who arrived on the South coast with a similar reputation as Ziyech. Jahanbakhsh went from top scorer in the Eredivisie to not netting a single goal in the Premier League.

Donny van de Beek

Perhaps more exciting than Ziyech is his Ajax team mate Donny van de Beek. The Dutchman is 4 years his junior at 22 years old.

With 16 goals and 12 assists last season, he is perhaps more similar to aaron Ramsey or Frank Lampard than Mesut Ozil.

A lot of his goals have come from late runs into the box – something Arsenal miss when Ozil plays. If Unai Emery opts to play two up top next season, van de Beek could be the ideal man to play behind the front two, drifting into the space left by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette when they go out wide.

Alongside Nabir Fekir, van de Beek is probably my favourite.

Bruno Fernandes

24-year-old Bruno Fernandes has been linked with both Manchester United and Manchester City this summer as he attempts to engineer a move to the Premier League.

The Portuguese midfielder has been in sparkling form this season with 31 goals, in the process becoming the highest-scoring Portuguese midfielder in a single season of all time. He also contributed  14 assists.

Like van de Beek, he tends to play a little bit deeper.

At €55 million, Arsenal might decide that he is overpriced and that their are cheaper options of equal talent available.

Luis Alberto

The wild card on the list.

Former Liverpool flop Luis Alberto has transformed himself into a fantastic all round midfielder since joining Lazio.

Last season he hit 12 goals with 19 assists. Whilst he has regressed this season with just 5 goals and 6 assists, he could be perfect if Emery wants a number 10 who can also put in a defensive shift.

Lazio paid just €4 million for him back in 2016.

The way I see it, Arsenal either go big and sign either Nabil Fekir or Donny van de Beek to replace Mesut Ozil – spending £50 million in the process, or they target both Hakim Ziyech and Luis Alberto, recruiting both for a combined £50million.



6 better alternatives for Arsenal than £70million Wilfried Zaha

At a reported £70million, Wilfried Zaha is over priced and overrated.

Zaha turns 27 next season, and last year was the first time he had ever scored 10 league goals in a single campaign. Crystal Palace’s reported £70million asking price for the Ivorian-turned-Englishman-turned-Ivorian is too much for a player with his ability and age.

We Zaha 22 or 23, you would be entitled to think “fantastic young talent” but he is not. In November he turns 27. That means he is not going to get much better. He is at his peak. And any transfer fee spent on him is unlikely to be recouped.

Last season he had a decent season. But it was not an exceptional one. Yes, he scored 10 goals, but he averaged nearly 300 minutes per goal. The much maligned Theo Walcott Only averaged as high as this twice in his Arsenal career, the last being when he was 22.

Even if he was on the market at £40million, I would still feel that as overpriced. There are younger, cheaper, more exciting players in world football.

Nicolas Pepe

Arsenal were linked with Lille forward Nicolas Pepe last summer after he scored 14 goals in 38 games. This season he has netted 21 times and notched 13 assists.

“Nicolas Pepe will leave,” Lille manager Christophe Galtier recently told Canal+.

He has been linked with Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal in recent weeks and with a reported transfer fee of £70million, Pepe would take up a huge chunk of the transfer budget for any club.

Whilst he would be an expensive signing, he is 2 years Zaha’s junior and a lot more talented.

Ismaila Sarr

21-year-old Ismaila Sarr is a raw talent. Lightening quick, his end product does let him down and needs work.

If Pepe is too expensive at £70million, Sarr is a more reasonably priced £25million. 2 years younger, he could become as good as Pepe.

Jose Mourinho recently compared Sarr to Barcelona’s Ousman Dembele.

Julian Brandt

German international Julian Brandt is a little bit different to many on this list.

He does not posses the lightening quick speed and directness of others on this list, but he is arguably the best all round footballer.

Brandt has pretty much played everyone for Bayer Leverkusen this season, including one game at left back.

A versatile player who can play on the wing or down the middle, as well as deeper. He does not have the pace of someone like his team mate Leon Bailey, but he makes up for it with excellent movement and technique.  He reminds me a lot of Santi Cazorla (except about a foot taller).

It was Brandt who kept Leroy Sane out of the German World Cup squad last summer.

Whilst Brandt would do a job out wide, there is a feeling that, in the long term, his best position is a number 10.

With a reported release clause of £21.6 million, and Brandt being a long term Mesut Ozil replacement, it makes sense to sign the 23-year-old ahead of Zaha

Hakim Ziyech

With a reported £25million release clause, Hakim Ziyech has come to a lot of peoples attention following Ajax’s run to the Champions League semi-final.

Just 6 months younger than Zaha, Ziyech is at his peak and there are doubts over whether he would be able to step up to a top end Premier League team.

Last season Brighton signed Alireza Jahanbakhsh, who arrived on the South coast with a similar reputation as Ziyech. Jahanbakhsh went from top scorer in the Eredivisie to not netting a single goal in the Premier League.

Not blessed with a lot of pace, Ziyech would probably be a better back up for Ozil then an out and out winger.

Despite the doubts, Arsenal would be better off investing in Ziyech at £25million then Zaha at £70million.

Steven Bergwijn

Staying in Holland, 21-year-old Steven Bergwijn is an exciting young talent.

Last season Justin Kluivert got all the accolades and the big money transfer to Roman. Many at the time felt that his PSV team mate Bergwijn was the better player.

Bergwijn reportedly has a release clause of only €20 million (£17.5 million). Sources on this are however vague and Arsenal were linked with his for €35 million a month or so ago.

He is raw and quick, but at 21 he plenty of time to develop.

Leon Bailey

A year ago Leon Bailey was one of the hottest young prospects in football. Aged 20, he hit 12 goals in 34 games leading many to value him northwards of £40million.

12 months on and his star has dimmed slightly.

Scoring just 5 n 38 this season, it feels like he has gone backwards, however it should be remembered that he is still just 21-years-old – 6 years Zaha’s junior.

With electric pace, is he the real deal, a rough diamond that just needs shining like Raheem Sterling, or is he just another in a long line of speedsters who does not have the footballing ability to make it to the top level?

Arsenal would likely be able to sign him for less than the £40million quoted last season. Cheaper, younger and more talented than Zaha.


Zaha at £70million would be a ludicrous transfer. Even the reduced price of £40million that Arsenal are reportedly interested at feels heavy.

Instead of signing Zaha, Arsenal should invest in two of the above mentioned.

Go for Julian Brandt firstly. He has the experience and ability to make an instant impact and is a future long term replacement for Mezut Ozil.

Alongside Brandt Arsenal should recruit either Ismaila Sarr or Steven Bergwijn. Both a little rawer, but with pace to burn.

A double swoop on Brandt and either Sarr or Bergwijn would cost the Arsenal between £40-50million.

We would be signing younger alternatives to Zaha, who have the potential to be better than him.

It just makes sense.