Tag Archives: Julian Draxler

Arsenal: 5 to target, 5 to avoid in January

5 to target

Leon Goretzka

The 22 year old German is available on a free transfer in the summer. It might be logical to get a contract in place in January, securing him for the summer, but I would prefer we signed him in January for a reduced transfer fee and gave him 6 months to acclimatise to the Premier League.

With Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil set to leave for nothing in the summer, both require replacing.

Getting in someone of the talent of Goretzka for a low price (or even a free if we do wait) frees the money up to replace that other number 10 we are missing.

A powerful attacking midfielder, Goretzka reminds me of Michael Ballack and would be the perfect replacement for either Mesut Ozil or Alexis Sanchez.

He has the talent to be as good as the likes of Ozil and Kevin de Bruyne.

Signing him should be a no brainer.

Julian Draxler

We have been linked with Julian Draxler forever. It is incredible to think that he is just 24.

Since joining PSG a year ago, the German international has struggled to make an impact on the first team – starting just 10 games this season.

With PSG considering a bid for Alexis Sanchez, and having the likes of Neymar and Mbappe staring week in week out, Draxler is surplus to requirements.

Draxler is competing with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Toni Kroos, Mario Götze, Leroy Sané, Leon Goretzka, Julian Brandt & Thomas Muller for a place in Germany’s World Cup squad. Those 7 are playing regulary for their clubs. Draxler isn’t.

A move to Arsenal could reignite his hopes of making the German squad for Russia 2018

Raphael Varane

With Real Madrid looking to offload a whole host of players to fund a summer spending spree, French centre back Raphael Varane might end up on his way out, despite only just signing a new 5 year deal with the Spaniards.

At just 23-years-old, Varane has both youth and experience on his side.

When you consider Virgil van Dijk has just gone for £75m, if Arsenal can pick up Varane for £40m or less, it would be brilliant business.

Leon Bailey

With Arsenal returning to 4 at the back, the future might also see a return to playing 4231. With Arsene Wenger’s reluctance to play Theo Walcott wide right, a move for Bayer Leverkusen’s talented Jamaican winger.

The 20-year-old speedster joined the German outfit €20 million in 2016/17 transfer window. He has broken through to the first team this season, scoring 8 goals in his 16 appearances.

The reported £35m might be too much for an unproven talent, but if we can recoup half of that by selling Theo Walcott, it offsets the risk.

Idrissa Gueye

When Arsenal were linked with N’Golo Kante 18 months ago, a lot of people scoffed at the notion of signing the Frenchman as he was not the big name they demanded – despite being one of the stand out midfielders in the Premier League. Kante went on to win the Premier League with Chelsea and be named PFA Player of the Year.

Everton’s Idrissa Gueye is in a similar boat.

People look at the Senegalese midfielder as the man who was relegated with Aston Villa, and not the player who in 2016 calendar year, made the most successful tackles and interceptions out of any player in Europe’s top five leagues.

Gueye is a strong tackler, but he can also play from the back and is able to distribute quickly – something which Granit Xhaka struggles with.

We have needed a player like Gueye for some time and, with the current midfielder partnership of Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey not offering enough solidity, he would be a proven Premier League player that would immediately improve our squad.

Likely to be able to get him for under £30m.

5 to avoid

Thomas Lemar

I banged the Thomas Lemar drum most of the summer. When we were linked with him for the region of £40m, I felt we should have moved for him.

As that price target rose, by what felt like £10m a week up until we offered £90m for him I deadline day, I went cold on the Frenchman.

He is still a long term target for Arsenal, but his 2017/18 form is concerning. Just the two goals and 4 assists in Ligue 1 and the Champions League.

Compare this to 11 goals and 14 assists in those competitions and it would indicate a player who has gone backwards this season.

Rather than move for him in January, I would rather we wait until the summer, allowing new Head Scout Sven Mislinta to run the rule over him.

Arda Turan

We seem to have been forever linked with Turkish midfield Arda Turan since the day he joined Barcelona back in 2015.

The former Atletico Madrid star as never really settled in the Nou Camp, finding himself on the fringes of the first team.

A move for Turan – who is 31 in January – would be very short termist.

We would be better saving the £35m he would cost to put towards a long term attacking midfielder, someone who is of the required quality and longevity, rather than someone who is not good enough.

Medhi Benatia

The Juventus centre back has been linked recently with a move to Arsenal – with reports from Italy that the Old Lady have rejected a £35m bid for him.

I would be concerned about Arsenal signing a centre back who has been let go by Bayern Munich, and potentially Juventus.

At 30, his injury record is concerning – he has played just 35 games since joining Juventus 18 months ago.

We need to reinforce the defence, but Benatia does not solve our problems.

Wilfried Zaha

It is incredible to think that it was 5 years ago that Sir Alex Ferguson signed the then 20-year-old Wilfried Zaha as a leaving present for Manchester United.

He failed to make a start under David Moyes, only scoring with Moyses’ daughter before being shipped out on loan to Cardiff after just 6 months.

A loan move back to Crystal Palace followed the next season, before he rejoined his boyhood club permanently.

Zaha has a lot of skill and ability, but little end product – he has scored 17 goals since 2013.

When you compare that to Theo Walcott who scored 19 last season, it shows how much Zaha flatters to deceive.

We dumped an average winger in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the summer. It does not make sense to replace him with someone else who is not good enough.

Richarlison

The Brazilian attacker has settled quickly in the Premier League, scoring 5 goals in 14 games.

Arsenal could take the risk and sign the man who Watford spent £11.2 million on in the summer. A transfer would likely cost twice that in January. If he continues his form, and the way transfer fees are going, that fee could treble by the summer.

£25m for a player with 14 appearances in England? I would rather pay £35m once he has proven himself for a season.

Keenos

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What do Arsenal need to do in January?

Sign a reinforcement

We have to be realistic when it comes to the January transfer window.

History shows that not much business is done in January. That sides will not go out and buy 5 it 6 players. Arsenal have notoriously done little business in January, and I do not expect that to change.

I would be surprised if Arsene Wenger signed more than a single player.

We recently conducted a poll on Twitter about what you, the fans, would like to see us sign in January:

Over 1,200 participated and the vote was fairly evenly split between a centre back, a defensive midfielder, and a replacement for Ozil or Sanchez.

For me it depends what play comes available – often in January you are governed by an individual wanting to make a move rather.

This means that if someone like Virgil van Dyke does agitate for a move away once more, we should go for him. But we should not settle for someone inferior just for the sake of getting in a centre back.

Likewise if Thomas Lemar or Julian Draxler want a January move, the doors to the Marble Halls should be open.

Once player looking like he wants a move is former Blackburn central midfielder Steven Nzonzi.

Currently at Sevilla, the 28-year-old has reportedly fallen out with manager Eduardo Berizzo. With a £35m release clause, it is a deal which could be tied up quite quickly. Whether he is the right player for Arsenal, however, is another debate.

What is for certain is Arsenal need to buy someone in January to keep the squad moving and fresh. With us fighting for 3 trophies, and in the race for 4th place, we need reinforcements.

Keep Sanchez and Ozil

Over the summer, arsenal stood firm over Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. They mad it clear, they would rather let both run their contracts down and leave for nothing rather than sell them.

Towards the end of the window, Arsenal looked set to let Sanchez leave to Manchester City, with Thomas Lemar set to come in. Lemar decided to turn Arsenal down causing the Sanchez deal feel through.

This lead to both Sanchez and Ozil staying.

4 months on and I imagine Arsenal’s position has not changed.

Despite the poor form of Alexis Sanchez, I would be surprised if the club let either him or Ozil go in January without having signed a replacement.

If we do let them go without signing a replacement, you then have to question why we did not just do so in the summer when both players value would have been twice as much – Sanchez to Manchester City was reportedly a £60m deal.

With the club still fighting for 3 trophies, as well as in the hunt for a Top 4 finish, it would be odd for the club to sell either without replacing.

Arsenal need to keep both Sanchez and Ozil until the end of the season, unless a replacement is bought in January.

Secure Leon Goretzka

I have been a fan of Schalke midfielder Leon Goretzka for some time. The 22 year old German midfielder is a terrific all-round midfielder. There is a whole host of players available on a free transfer this summer, and Leon Goretzka is the best of the bunch.

Arsenal are able to do a deal for the German in January to join in the summer, and should make the move and secure his signature.

Whilst Goretzka would not be a direct replacement for Ozil and Sanchez, he would go some way to replacing them.

I believe his future is playing deeper than he does for Schalke. Like Kevin de Bruyne does for Manchester City – dictating play from deep but also joining in the attack.

Playing Goretzka deeper would then free up to push Aaron Ramsey further forward – his more natural position.

Getting in Goretzka will be a big statement for next season that we are already making top quality signings.

Keenos

8 possible Sanchez / Ozil replacements

Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil are gone. They are not going to sign a new deal. I think we have to all come to terms with them leaving the club on a free.

And when I talk about all of us having to come to terms, I include the Arsenal management.

It often feels that Arsenal transfer windows are managed without a plan. It is disorganised. But with the clubs two best players set to leave for nothing, it will be a disaster if Arsenal are not already prepared.

The plans of action need to start in January. Even if Sanchez and Ozil are to not leave until the summer, Arsenal need to not only target, but secure at least one replacement for the pair now.

Replacing two in the summer will be hard. Getting one replacement in January will take the pressure off and also ensure that come the 2018/19 season, we already have a replacement who is settled in England having had 7 months to adjust to the weather.

So who should Arsenal be targeting in January?

Thomas Lemar

Our number one target from the summer will surely be re-targeted in January.

He wanted to join Arsenal, Arsenal wanted him, but we messed up and did not meet Monaco’s valuation until too late.

Hopefully since the summer transfer window closed, we have kept talking to both Monaco, Lemar, and his representatives, and that a deal in January could happen quickly.

Robert Pires recently claimed that he felt that a deal for Thomas Lemar to Arsenal will not happen now. A lot of people have jumped on this as to assume the deal is dead. But reading the full quotes from Pires, he is saying this due to the price tag of £90m. That he (and probably Wenger) does not think he is worth that much.

At the end of the day, if we have the money, we need to spend it. Every million that go’s unspent becomes less valuable every year as transfer fees continue to climb.

Julian Draxler

Another long term favourite of some, German international Julian Draxler could be available for a cut price fee as PSG attempt to balance the books.

Draxler is one of 4 attacking talents that are being linked with moves away from the club. Angel Di Maria, Javier Pastore and Lucas Moura are the other 4.

Draxler has struggled to nail down a place since joining PSG, but if Arsenal could get him cheaply, a transfer could be on the cards.

Antoine Griezmann

With Diego Costa set to rejoin Atletico Madrid, Antoine Griezmann may well be on his way out – if not in January, certainly in the summer.

It feels he has been itching for a move away for a couple of years.

Whilst Atletico have performed brilliantly in recent years, the trophies have dried up since Griezmann joined the club. He has only won the Spanish version of the Community Shield.

It is all well and good being competitive and making Champions League Finals, but if you are not winning trophies, players will become frustrated.

If he does want to move, there will be a scramble for him, with the likes of Manchester United and Barcelona also interested. Arsenal moved to the Emirates Stadium to compete with these sides for the likes of Griezmann.

Griezmann would be a stellar signing and the perfect replacement for Alexis Sanchez.

Thomas Muller

Things have gone a little sour for Thomas Muller at Bayern Munich in recent months. After a slow start, the 28-year-old finished with 12 assists in 25 Bundesliga starts last season. However, he found the net just five times. This season he has scored just twice in 17 appearances for club and country.

An established world star, he would fit straight in and provide goals and assists from midfield. Signing him might also see Mesut Ozil sign a new contract.

Raheem Sterling

With the development and form of Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling has found himself on the fringes of the Manchester City first team in recent weeks.

Add in David Silva, Kevin de Bruyne and big money summer signing Bernardo Silva, Sterling is finding the competition for places tough to get game time. He has made just 5 Premier League starts this season.

Add in Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, Manchester City are the envy of world football with their attacking talent. 7 into 3 (or occasionally 4) does not go, and whilst they might win the trophies and get the money whilst sitting on the Manchester City bench, many players want to play.

Sterling is a London lad (via Jamaica) and spends a lot of time in the capital visiting family and friends.

Despite his lack of game time, he has still managed 7 goals in the league this season – just two shy of his career high 9 at Liverpool back in 2014.

There has always been a world class player in Sterling, but he just needs an arm round him and get consistent playing time.

He would get both at Arsenal, and at just 23, still has plenty of time to develop.

Dries Mertens

It has recently been linked that Napoli’s Belgian born forward has a release clause of just £25m. This is a snip in the current market.

At 30, he would not be a long term replacement for Ozil or Sanchez, but he is having an Indian summer to what had been an average career since Napoli move him down the middle last season – no player has scored more goals in Serie A since the beginning of 2016/17.

Lorenzo Insigne

The diminutive team mate of Dries Mertens, he has also been in excellent form.

Reminds me of a young Santi Cazorla, he is great with both feet, and can play anywhere behind a front man. The only question for both Napoli men is whether they would want to leave a table topping side for Arsenal in January, and lose the chance to become legends.

Possibly not.

James Rodriguez

The Columbian has only recently joined Bayern Munich on a 2 year long long deal, but things have quickly turned sour.

Signed by the since departed Carlo Ancelotti, Rodriguez found himself on the bench in the game after the Italians dismissal and there are reports that both he and Munich are looking for ways to end the loan deal.

With Real Madrid unlikely to want him back, the only option will be for Munich to find a club to take Rodriguez for the remainder of the loan deal. Arsenal could well step in and Rodriquez could show the creative abilities to fill the void left by Mesut Ozil.

Keenos