Midfield players hampered by long-term injuries have been no rarity at Arsenal in recent years. Players such as Abou Diaby and Tomas Rosicky were unable to fulfill their true, maximum potential at Arsenal as recurring long-term injuries continuously held them back. Even Jack Wilshere, the Wunderkind who was dubbed the future captain of England by former boss Fabio Capello has been plagued by injuries year after year.
Now Arsenal fans have been dealt the crushing news that Santi Cazorla has had another injury setback and may only return well into 2018. Although small in size, the Spaniard brings a huge impact to Arsenal’s midfield and the little magician has been pivotal to Arsenal’s success on the pitch in recent years, with the Gunners winning 65.5% of the games in which he has started since 2014/2015, compared to a mere 49.2% win ratio when he has not featured. The future of Arsene Wenger has been subject to immense speculation, with Eddie Howe seemingly offering the Arsenal hierarchy an alternative British option, though Arsenal’s board backed Wenger: and he now needs a world-class playmaker.
Every top team needs a creative central midfielder. Someone who can drop deep and dictate the tempo of play, someone who is technically gifted yet can instinctively find that killer pass, someone who can retain possession in tight spaces and yet can jinks past a player or two. Someone like Luka Modric – the epitome of the creative central midfielder.
Jack Wilshere’s constant injury problems coupled with Aaron Ramsey’s inconsistency means Arsenal have been unable to replace the instrumental value Santi Cazorla brings to the way Arsenal play. It’s time for Arsenal to start planning for life after Cazorla…
One potential replacement could be the young, German international Leon Goretzka. The Schalke midfielder, who has just one year left on his current contract, shone at this year’s Confederations Cup and looks to be the latest player in the German production line of talent that is destined for greatness.
Another plausible option for the Gunners is Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri – a player who contributed seven goals and nine assists as the French side unexpectedly mounted a genuine title challenge in Ligue 1.
One player who could easily fill the void left behind by Cazorla is Cesc Fabregas. The Chelsea playmaker’s future at Stamford Bridge is still uncertain, and with only 13 starts last season, he may look to move on to get regular playing time. However, the prospect of Chelsea selling a player with Fabregas’ ability to a direct Premier League rival seems highly unlikely, but Arsenal fans can dream…
A creative central midfielder is without question a position Arsenal should be looking to improve this summer, and after early signs of ambition with Arsenal’s £52m signing of Alexandre Lacazette one would imagine rumours linking the Gunners to players in this position will only intensify as the transfer window progresses.
Written by Lukas Jennings.