After one of Arsenal’s worst Premier League seasons in recent history, there is no doubt one of the big stories was contract renewals, be that of the manager or of star players such as Alexis Sanchez or Mesut Ozil. In this three part series, I look at possible replacements for the nine players whose contracts all run out in just over a year’s time.
Carl Jenkinson – Right Back
Nelson Semedo – Benfica (Portugal)
A player currently attracting a lot of attention from clubs like Barcelona and Manchester United, due to his attacking attributes and extreme pace he has exhibited all season for Benfica. Still needs a little coaching when it comes to defending but there is no doubt, people are justified in expecting him to be a starter for his country.
Joshua Kimmich – Bayern Munich (Germany)
An undoubted talent but unable to pin down a starting berth at Bayern, under Carlo Ancelotti. A natural at either central midfield or right back due to his incredible reading of the game, work rate and excellent passing. Expressed a desire to leave due to not playing and it could prove a shrewd buy for any club who pounced now.
Mattia De Sciglio – AC Milan(Italy)
Contract rebel De Sciglio, was one of the top full backs at the recent Euro finals and still has plenty of potential to fulfil. An excellent crosser and passer of the ball who is adept on either flank but his preferred side is right back, many a club especially Juventus are circling around this Italian international who loves a header too.
Matt Macey – Keeper
Bartlomiej Dragowski – Fiorentina (Poland)
A big season is expected of this Polish U21 international, as he steps out of the shadow of his more experienced teammates in his position to be Fiorentina’s regular number one. Tall, agile and lightening reflexes for someone so tall, yet still under twenty years old he has plenty of years ahead of him to potentially be one of the top keepers in Europe.
Alban Lafont – Toulouse (France)
Toulouse caught the eye of many a scout last season, mostly down to their youthful defence consisting of towering Centre Backs, flying full backs and this composed keeper. Still only eighteen but showing composure beyond his years as well as command of his box that once again is surprising for his age.
Gianluigi Donnarumma – AC Milan (Italy)
Another Milan contract rebel but the Milanista’s seem to be more bothered about this one, probably because he was statistically the best in Europe last season. He made a huge impression in his first season last year and at still only 18, he is destined to be one of the best in the world but can he keep that form if he joined a bigger club only to sit on the bench.
Mesut Özil – Attacking Midfield
Obviously hoping this replacement is not required!!
Nadiem Amiri – Hoffenheim (Germany)
Already getting comparisons with the man Ozil himself, due to his high pass rate and flair on the ball. A player that plays the game at his own pace and yet has always seems to have time on the ball, he signed an extension this summer but every player has their price.
Thomas Lemar – Monaco (France)
Probably the most well known on the list of Ozil replacements and also a player heavily linked with Arsenal thanks to his impressive performances in the league and European competition. A very industrious player that never seems to stop running or looking to make an incisive pass, noted for his excellent delivery at set pieces.
Hakim Ziyech – Ajax (Morocco)
One of the main reasons this seasons youthful Ajax side caught the eye, thanks to his audacity, pace and increasing creativity. Ziyech enjoyed a fine first season at Ajax from FC Twente, although failed to make enough of an impact in his biggest game against Manchester United in the Europa League final to win it. At this stage due to his excellent conversion rate from free kicks and his “x factor” whenever he has the ball, it is surprising a bigger deal is not being made of this man.
Keen to hear your thoughts and back soon with Part 2…… James
I got into football as a kid watching Italian football in the afternoons and ever since I’ve been hooked on tactics and the continental side of the game. I’ve written about Italian football in the past among other things but now it’s time to write about, the embodiment of how I see the beautiful game, Arsenal. Hopefully writing things and opinions about the game you haven’t seen before, I like a bit of a joke too.