It did appear that the days of Arsenal selling their star players were over. After having the pain of watching Fabregas, Nasri, Clichy, Adebayor, Hleb, Flamini, Van Persie and Song walk out of the door, I don’t think we could take much more. All those players walking out meant that the signings of experienced players, like Podolski, Giroud, Cazorla, Ozil and Sanchez have been all the more important to Arsenal fans.
This summer, things are all going along smoothly. Alexis Sanchez and Mathieu Debuchy have been confirmed as Arsenal players, which will no doubt increase excitement and anticipation levels of our fans heading into the new season. However, one dark cloud that could be looming over the Emirates for the rest of the summer, and that is the future of our Spanish superstar Santiago Cazorla.
Some reports have been linking him with a move back to Spain, which would of course leave a significant gap in the Arsenal squad. The skilful Spaniard has lit up the Emirates pitch since his arrival from Malaga in the summer of 2012, and for a large part of the first season, he seemed to win games for us almost single handedly.
I, like most Arsenal fans, would prefer if we did not lose Cazorla. However, unfortunately football is not as simple as that. Here are three options for Wenger to pursue should Cazorla leave.
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One – Julian Draxler
We’ll start with a transfer target that Arsenal are believed to have pursued last January, however the players lack of will to move ultimately meant that the deal could not go through. The young German is extremely talented, which is why German coach Joachim Loew decided to take the 20 year old, born in Gladbeck, Germany, to the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He made his only appearance of the tournament as a subsitute for fellow Arsenal target in Die Mannschafts 7-1 thrashing of the hosting nation Brazil.
Draxler was named by The Guardian as one of Europe’s top talents, and it’s easy to see why. Draxler is compfortable on both wings, as well as playing in the number 9 and ten roles, and has a reputation for taking long shots. He might also be considered as a step up from Cazorla, due to his larger stature (6ft 1in, compared to 5ft6), meaning that he will offer more in terms of his output on the pitch.
Two – Angel Di Maria
Di Maria quite simply a world class player. He played a crucial role in Real Madrid’s quest to claim la decima and was also hugely influential in Argentina’s quest to win the World Cup – however they ultimately fell in the final third. Di Maria to Arsenal would be a major coup, due to him being one of the best in his position, and him currently plying his trade for undoubtedly the biggest club in the world (except Arsenal, of course.)
Di Maria had an excellent season last year with Real Madrid, scoring four and assisting 17 times in La Liga. His all round play reminds me of Arsenal legend Robert Pires with his skills, passing technique and ability to drift in between the lines. He also has versatility, appearing on both flanks, as well as in the number 10 role and as a box-to-box midfielder for Los Blancos, fitting perfectly into Carlo Ancelotti’s counter attacking style.
Three – Koke
Another option could be rising star Koke. Koke has had a breakout season with Atletico Madrid and has been described by some as the future of Spanish football. The 5ft 10in player featured for his country in two world cup games, despite the defending champions going crashing out in the group stages.
Koke has several attributes that would make him a desirable acquisition at Arsenal. Like Di Maria and Draxler, he is versatile, however he has shown his flexibility more than most. He has played on both sides of midfield, as well as in the middle of Atletico’s 4-4-2 formation, as well as just off front man Diego Costa. He is also a notorious hard worker, which could be a deadly tool for Arsenal to possess when combined with his fantastic creative ability which saw him create 67 goal scoring chances for his team mates last season.
Who would you target Gooners? View a table of all three players statistics for last season here, and comment any comments and thoughts you have below.