After one of Arsenal’s worst 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 the final part in the three part series where I look at possible replacements for the nine players whose contracts all run out in just over a years time. We also finally answer the unenviable how to solve a problem like Alexis?
Alexis Sanchez – Left Wing/Forward
Hulk – Shanghai SIPG (Brazil)
A player that was on the cusp of greatness at Porto but then went to money men Zenit St Petersburg and now Shanghai SIPG. This summer he’s expressed a desire to play for Arsenal and although now thirty, he’s still one of the most explosive players in the modern game.
Ousmane Dembele – Dortmund (France)
Although Mbappe has been getting all the plaudits in the France wonderkid stakes, it can be undoubted the impact Dembele has had this season. Creating twenty-one assists and scoring ten goals, he was one of the most effective attackers in the Bundesliga. One of the best dribblers in Europe right now, he scares even the most experienced of defenders, just ask Gary Cahill after the recent international friendly. Teams like Barcelona and of course Bayern Munich are all looking at this already near complete player.
Yannick Carrasco – Atletico Madrid (Belgium)
One of the best dribblers in the game today, near impossible to stop in full flight on a good day. Still a lot of room to improve but it’s very clear with the right coaching he could be a frightening prospect soon, thanks to his explosive pace, trickery on the ball and capacity to do the unpredictable.
Aaron Ramsey – Central Midfield
Kerem Demirbay – Hoffenheim (Germany)
One of the stand out performers for the impressive Hoffenheim team this season, made huge strides in his improvement also following a transfer from Hamburg in the summer. A player in the mould of Andrea Pirlo, who likes to dictate play with excellent passing be the that from set pieces or as he’s on the move skilfully dribbling through midfield. Demirbay is a threat anywhere outside the box thanks to his accurate free kicks or ferocious shots.
Ronaldo Vieira – Leeds United (England)
A mere eighteen years of age but already one of the most exciting prospects outside of the Premier League. Teams like Red Bull Leipzig and Newcastle are already scouting this all action robust midfielder. Still noticeably raw but it’s clear he has the potential to play at a much higher level, think Essien but a bit more attacking. Still needs to score more goals and assists to be the complete midfielder but, currently a fantastic defensive midfield option.
Sander Berge – KRC Genk (Norway)
Standing a lofty 6’4’’ tall at only nineteen Sander Berge sticks out like a sore thumb straight away on any football pitch but not only for his height but also his skill. The Norway international has a certain swagger some have even compared to Arsenal Legend Patrick Vieira, always calm in position and not afraid to take the game to the opposition. Still comes across a little raw but also classy, Berge could become one of the finest in his position with the right coaching.
Jack Wilshere – Central Midfield
Dani Ceballos – Real Betis (Spain)
Currently lighting up the U21 world cup with his dribbling, audacious flicks and touches. A fantastic reading of the game which will only improve with time, Ceballos shows a maturity beyond his years in this regard. The sky is the limit for this Betis man, who is valued at a mere £10 million by his club, make no mistake it would be the bargain of the season.
Mateo Kovacic – Real Madrid (Croatia)
Many expect this Croatian international to leave Real Madrid this summer, as his first team opportunities seem to be limited now under Zidane. A former wonderkid, still only twenty three and full of all that’s needed to be an attacking force in the middle of the park, superb dribbling, passing and a great engine.
James Ward Prowse – Southampton (England)
A rare gem in England, a technically gifted player but also not afraid to put his foot in. Maturing with every season and becoming more and more of an essential part of Southampton. His distribution is one of the best among his English peers, add that to his fine reading of the game and growing toughness, you get a player set for great things in the right team.
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.