After one of Arsenal’s worst league seasons in recent history it’s 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. Here is part two of this three part series where I look at possible replacements for the nine players whose contracts all run out in just over a years’ time. You can read Part 1 here, which looked possible replacement for Ozil, Jenkinson and Macey.
Kieran Gibbs – Left-Back
With Nacho Monreal likely to feature more at left CB in the coming season, as hinted by Wenger, perhaps there is still a need for a second left back.
Raphael Guerreiro – Dortmund (Portugal)
Four years younger than Gibbs yet an established international for Portugal, ice cool under pressure and extremely high work rate. Dortmund would ask a big fee for Guerreiro but I am such a big fan of this talented player that even with Kolasinac coming in I feel he would be worth it. A player capable of playing in a number of positions including anywhere on the wing or central midfield, he would definitely count as a high end signing.
Benjamin Henrichs – Beyer Leverkusen (Germany)
Seen by many as a bit of wonderkid, an established starter at just twenty years old for his club and knocking on the door of the national team if not for such heavy competition in the left back area. Also seen as a bit of an enigma by some of the Leverkusen fans due to his petulance and the outbursts. Henrichs is an undoubted talent though capable of playing either flank thanks to his excellent dribbling skill, well-timed tackles and interceptions and all round slick game.
Ryan Sessegnon – Fulham (English)
One of the most talked about players outside of the Premier league in England, due to this seventeen year olds’ fine first season for Championship club Fulham. Potential to play further up the field but making his name at left back, he possesses all the attributes of a modern day top class full back, along with a drive and determination to succeed. It is not if he will play for England, merely which Premier league team he will be playing for, when he does.
Per Mertesacker – Centre-Back
Davinson Sanchez – Ajax (Columbia)
Potentially expensive player due to interest from Barcelona, but also potentially one of the best centre backs in the world. Another of the stand out performers from the impressive Ajax team who made a great impression in his first season with the Dutch champions. A tough no nonsense, strong tackler but also able to mix it up with the best of them when it comes to dribbling from deep, never looks under pressure due to his impressive pace and cool head.
Dayot Upamecano – Red Bull Leipzig (French)
Many of the attacking players of RBL got the plaudits this season and rightly so but a player who also made a big impact was teenage centre back Dayot Upamecano. Signed from sister club Red Bull Salzburg in the summer for £8.5 million, which could prove to be a bargain. A strong, robust player with plenty of pace, potential to be in an exciting France national team in the future, he is definitely one to keep an eye on.
Pepe – Real Madrid (Portugal)
This is possibly a bit of a left field choice, yes he is thirty four, yes he is, should I say not the easiest to like but his game doesn’t seem to have dropped. Never far from controversy, Pepe is as sneaky as they come, not shy from elbowing an opponent or diving should he deem it appropriate. Pepe could add that little bit of nastiness to Arsenal that it’s perceived to be lacking.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – Right Wing/Centre mid
Christian Pulisic – Dortmund(USA)
A player many are tipping to be one of the best in the world, if he does not fulfil that, he most definitely will be the best ever American for sure. This versatile American is not just a wonderkid but also a phenomenon, able to play in a number of positions so effectively that it is near impossible to say for sure where he would be best placed. His game maturity and decision making, mean he stands out from most players in the game today, add that to his technical dribbling skills and hawk like vision, the sooner Arsenal sign this boy the sooner they won’t have to be bidding in hundreds of millions rather than tens.
Renato Sanches – Bayern Munich (Portugal)
Another German based wonderkid who although he did not enjoy as good a season as Pulisic but there is no doubt how talented this rampaging Portuguese international is. Sanches is out of favour at the Munich based club but there will be no short of suitors for his unique brand of high octane all action football, be that on the wing or more often in the centre. What instantly strikes you about Sanches is just how strong he is for someone so young, stocky in frame yet also rapid and skilful, he would slot in perfectly either in the middle or wing.
Juan Caudrado – Juventus(Columbia)
Arsenal have already apparently had a bid rejected for this twenty nine year old Columbian international, so this could be on the cards. An experienced campaigner now after loan spells with Fiorentina and Juventus from Chelsea; it is no surprise clubs are eyeing this speedy, hardworking, flamboyant wing back.
Back soon with Part 3…….
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.