As it looks more and more likely that the German international could be heading for the exit at the Emirates, Sam May looks at a real option to replace him in North London.
The move by Arsène Wenger to secure the services of Alexandre Lacazette in the summer may have a significant effect on his next move. The replacement of Özil will be key and the door may already be ajar to secure his replacement. Step through Nabil Fekir.
Fekir, 24, is now starting the prime of his years and is a former team mate of the new Gunners star man Lacazette. They had a great understanding last term and no doubt the Frenchman would welcome his friend to the Emirates. By moving to Arsenal last summer Lacazette has unknowingly helped his friend. He now captains the Lyon side and is shining in his extra responsibility. His goal tally of nine in 10 games has already matched his total for last season. He scores free kicks, arrives late in the box for tap-in’s and even has a half way strike to his name – against Bordeaux.
On recent French international duty Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny was quoted “Fekir has great technical ability and makes a difference”. He was probably also impressed with how the central attacking midfielder is prepared to track back as well as drive for goal. Clearly something lacking in Özil’s makeup. He “sees“ situations and is a talent no doubt about that, but Fekir makes things happen. He takes charge, again something lacking generally at Arsenal, and badly needed.
No doubt Wenger was given a full report on his return from international duty. The premiership demands such commitment so Fekir could prove a hit with the North London faithful. Not since 2008 and the arrival of Karim Benzema on the scene at the Stade de Lyon are the powers in the corridors as excited.
The Lyon money men were happy to open, discuss and conclude the sale of their star man Lacazette to the Gunners. The fee of £52.7m was right, so London became his new place of work. He is scoring goals when on the pitch but is still settling in.
The addition of his former playmaker and feeder may turn both Fekir and Lacazette into the key force the gunners currently lack. It will all depend of the price being right. Expect no change from £75m Mr Wenger.