We are reaching the end of this season and, inevitably, teams around Europe and worldwide are preparing themselves for the summer transfer window. The focus for many will be on exciting prospects and young talents from around the globe. Here is a list of 13 talented African footballers who are going to be high on […]
Arsenal’s failure to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in over 15 years seems to have prompted their two biggest stars, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, to seek an exit from the Emirates this summer. At least, that’s if you believe the transfer rumours.
The contracts of both players expire in 12 months and the club’s failure to secure their futures, which has been an endeavour now for two years, means that their departure is seen as inevitable in some quarters.
Despite long-serving Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger extending his contract for two more seasons, it may prove to be less pivotal to the futures of Sanchez and Ozil than previously thought. Both 28-year-olds are in their prime, and a year without playing in Europe’s most elite competition may prompt their exit. But where might they be headed?
The Chile international has again been head and shoulders above the rest of the Arsenal squad this season.
The wantaway forward was the Premier League’s third top scorer having scored 24 goals, 29 in all competitions. He also amassed 10 assists. That’s one more than fellow rebel Mesut Ozil, who is venerated for his creativity.
Throughout Arsenal’s tumultuous campaign, Sanchez was the shining light. His determination to will his team to victory has to be admired and at times he arguably saved Arsenal from capitulation single-handedly.
According to myriad reports in 2016/17 Sanchez has attracted interest from Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, Manchester City, and the most probable of all destinations, German giants Bayern Munich. Newspaper reports have linked the Chilean with a £55m move and suggested that Sanchez is “ready to force” a transfer to the Bundesliga champions
The move would make sense. Bayern’s world-class wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery are on the decline. If Germany’s most illustrious club are to compete with the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus in next season’s Champions League they will surely need to invest in a winger as brilliant as Sanchez.
Chelsea and Manchester City are also nice fits. The prospect of playing alongside Eden Hazard and under Antonio Conte, who won the Premier League at the first time of asking, is a scintillating possibility. Likewise, moving to the Etihad to accompany David Silva, Kevin de Bruyne and Sergio Aguero (among others) is just as mouth-watering.
At this time, several reports suggest that Manchester City lead the race, with Bayern Munich another very possible destination.
The German international, heralded by Arsene Wenger to be of the same ilk as Zinedine Zidane, has had another good season donning the red and white.
However, despite scoring eight goals and accumulating nine assists this campaign, Ozil’s FA Cup final appearance could well have been his last outing for the Gunners.
— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) May 27, 2017
According to some reports, the 28-year-old wants to stay at the club until his contract expires to increase the prospect of securing a free transfer. With that in mind, if Arsenal are to receive any fee for his services then they will have to let the creative midfielder leave in the summer.
That said, there are counter-rumours suggesting that the German could sign a new deal to stay after all.
He arrived at the Emirates from Real Madrid in 2013 for £42m. Ozil was the Premier League assists leader and Arsenal’s player of the season in 2015/16. He has helped the Gunners win three FA Cups in four years, but has failed to lead the team to success in the Premier League and in Europe.
Arsenal’s star is yet to attract any serious interest from Europe’s top clubs, possibly because none of the sides who could afford the transfer fee and wages have a vacancy for a playmaker. But a summer move could definitely on the cards.
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Words: Eliot Eagle