Tag Archives: renato sanches

5 Santi Cazorla replacements

Leon Goretzka

The lanky German central midfielder has been on a lot of people’s radars for a long time.

The 6’ 2” Schalke 04 midfielder’s contract runs out in 12 months. Whilst he is likely to mirror many playersn Germany by letting his contract run down before joining Bayern Munich, Arsenal could do well to force a move this summer.

He is certainly not a Santi Cazorla clone, but he would offer a lot in the middle of the park.

More of an Aaron Ramsey than a Santi Cazorla, his passing is not quite as good as the midget Spaniard, but he makes up for it in physical size and his ability to get around. And even though he is not as good as Cazorla on the ball, he is still a solid passer.

At 22, and with a World Cup round the corner, he would be pushing for 1st team football. Whilst Arsenal can not (and should not) guarantee this for any incoming player, a scenario where he is pushing Ramsey for a spot next to Granit Xhaka in the middle of the park is forcible.

Signing Goretzka would also leave us with the option of Ramsey moving further forward where he excels for Wales.

Jean Seri

Labelled the next “N’Golo Kante”, but I am sceptical.

The reason he has been labelled this is the same reason Abou Diaby was labelled the next Vieira, and Bruno Cheryou the next Zinedine Zidane. Seri is 5’ 5” and black.

A lot of people who claim to watch French football have been raving about him recently, comparing him favourably to Kante. But these people had probably not even heard of Kante until Leicester signed him.

Seri is a diminutive, hard working midfielder who has a £33 million release clause.

He is a defensive midfielder who covers a lot of ground, so would not be a direct replacement for Cazorla.

Signing him would simply push everyone forward. Seri would play defensive midfield, and Xhaka would be pushed further forward, becoming the deep lying playmaker that Santi Cazorla was.

Dani Ceballos

The Spain under 21 international was named Player of the Tournament at the recent 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

Dani Ceballos is a terrific young player and, alongside Saul Niguez, is surely the future of Spain’s midfield.

With a reported release clause of just €15m, he is a player who should be at the top of a lot of clubs wish list this summer.

At just 20 years old, he is unlikely to make the Spain squad at the 2018 World Cup, and would possibly be happy(ish) to not be starting week in, week out and fight for his place in the squad.

Not only would he be able to replace Cazorla’s creativity, but he would also provide brilliant back up for Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.

Max Arnold

The second German on the list, I am a massive fan of Max Arnold and he was one of my Ones To Watch at the recent European Youth tournament.

The Wolfsburg man was named alongside Dani Ceballos in the Under-21 Team of the Tournament and recently ran a friendly against England with a display of precise, intelligent passing and power.

Again, like many others on this list, he is not a Santi Cazorla clone, but would certainly add depth, competition and quality to our central midfield.

Renato Sanches

Just 12 months ago the Bayern Munich youngster was staring for Portugal in the European Championships. This summer he was relegated to the U21 tournament, and took his poor Bayern Munich form with him.

Still just 19, Arsenal should not be put off the youngster. He is clearly very talented and you do not lose his natural attributes over night.

He will probably be the most expensive on the list, but, if playing at 100%, is easily the best.

Arsenal would make a big statement by signing him.




Who are Arsenal scouting at the UEFA Under21 Championship?

Arsenal scouts are set to join those of Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham in Poland this summer to watch the crème de la crème of Europe’s youngsters at the Under 21 tournament. Incidentally, reports are that Manchester United and Liverpool have decided not to send scouts to Euro 2017.

So just who could Arsenal be scouting?

Renato Sanches (Portugal)

Just 12 months ago the Bayern Munich youngster was staring for Portugal in the senior version of the tournament. Still just 19, the youngster will be hoping to put a poor first season at Bayern Munich behind him, and remind the world why he was nominated as Golden Boy in 2016. This is a tournament he really should dominate.

Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy)

Recently turned down a contract at home town club AS Milan, the now familiar name has defied his young age by breaking into Italian sides first team at just 18. With his contract set to expire at the end of 2018, a move this summer could be on the cards. Only downside is we would then have to deal with Mino Raiola. A greedy, greedy man.

Max Arnold (Germany)

With Jack Wilshire set to leave the club, and Santi Cazorla set to miss the rest of the year injured, Arsenal are lacking in creative central midfielders. The Wolfsburg man recently ran a friendly against England with a display of precise, intelligent passing and power.

Sandro Ramirez (Spain)

Set to leave Malaga this summer for a cut price £7million, he was destined to join Atletico Madrid before they were hit with a transfer embargo. Whilst certainly not a top choice for Arsenal, his cheap price tag could result in a risk to nothing in case other senior targets do not materialise.

Ruben Neves (Portugal)

The middle of the park for Portugal will intriguing to watch this summer with Ruben Neves joining Renato Sanches in a central midfield that would not be out of place in senior internationals. He provides the grit whilst Sanches gives the flair. A product of Port’s talent factory, he will be using this tournament to secure himself a move to one of Europe’s elite clubs.

Joel Asoro (Sweden)

18 year old Joel Asoro signed for Sunderland in 2018 and made just one appearance for the relegated side. The rapid forward is one of the first names on the teamsheet for the reigning European U21 Champions. Asoro led Sunderland to the 2016–17 Premier League International Cup Final and Arsenal have recently been tracking the youngster to reinforce their own U23 side.

Andrija Zivkovic (Serbia)

The winger is the youngest player ever to make an appearance for Serbia, aged just 17 years and 3 months. Joined Benfica last summer. Most of Europe have reportedly been monitoring the teenager, who is technically gifted and a talented dribbler. Predictably nicknamed the “Serbian Messi”.

Krystian Bielik (Poland)

The Arsenal youngster will be monitored throughout the tournament by the clubs scouts. The hosts fancy their chances at this years tournament, and a lot is expected of the powerful holding midfielder who joined the club for £2.7m in January 2015. A good performance could see him parachuted into the Arsenal 1st team squad next season.

Rob Holding and Calum Chambers (England)

The Arsenal pair are set to partner each other in the middle of England’s defence. It will be interesting to watch how they perform alongside each other for the future of the club.


A wish list for Arsenal – 5 players we need to sign

I found this in my drafts. I wrote it before the FA Cup Final. I have no idea why I did not publish it earlier, but here it is.

Every year I write a wish list. A prediction. I play football manager with myself. Attempt to build the Arsenal squad. Who I want to see come in, who I think will leave, what I think the squad will look like next year.

Here are my thoughts on the 2017/18 season…

In goal, Wojciech Szczesny and David Ospina will leave the club. We will raise £20-30m be selling them both. In their place, we should go for Sunderland’s Jordan Pickford.

Valued at £30m, we could pretty much get him for free if we get a decent value for the other two keepers. At worst we would be looking at a £10m outlay. Personally, I do not think Pickford is ready to play for a team like Arsenal.

It is easy at Sunderland. Saving 20 shots a game, not getting criticised if you concede 6, as you have said another 14. At Arsenal – and other top clubs – you come under higher scrutiny. By getting in Pickford now, we could easily play him in the cups whilst an understudy to Petr Cech. He will learn form the goal keeping legend, and this time next year, will take over as number one.

A deal for Sead Kolasinac looks done. A free transfer. Ignore the price tag. He is the best left back in the Bundesliga.

With his height and physicality, he could drop inside and become the left side of a 3 at the back. With Nacho Monreal also offering similar attributes, it could be a case of flipping a coin to decide who players where. Kieran Gibbs will make way.

In the middle of the park, I have been a long term fan of Renato Sanches.

He went for big money to Bayern Munich last year, but has struggled to nail down a spot. Munich could well look cash in before what they owe on him increases again.

Sanches has the physicality in the middle of the park that we have missed. An all round central midfielder, he can defend and attack, pass and tackle. He covers the ground and could become an absolute beast in the middle of the park alongside Granit Xhaka.

Moving forward, after their poor season last year, Riyad Mahrez might come available.

At the right price, he could provide competition for Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. If we get him in early, it would also take the pressure off if we lose either player as we would already have a replacement.

Mahrez would also do a job on the wing, if we decide to move Sanchez up top (or behind Sanchez alongside Ozil).

Having a choice between Ozil, Sanchez and Mahrez is something we could certainly accommodate.

Finally we have Kylian Mbappe. The young striker is going to be very expensive. I am not 100% sure on him. He has the talent. But his price tag does not quite justify what he has done so far. He would be a luxury signing if signing him does not mean we have to give up on other targets. I would not sacrifice (for example) signing Sanches and Mahrez to bring in Mbappe, but once sales come in, we could free up enough money to sign the wonderkid.

It will be interesting to see how many we sign.

Note: This was originally written before we won the FA Cup Final