Arsenal: Who can replace Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil?

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal prepare to kick off during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion at the Emirates Stadium on April 21, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal prepare to kick off during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion at the Emirates Stadium on April 21, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) /

Arsenal look set to lose their two superstars, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. Knowing that, who do the Gunners have that can replace them?

At a glance, the current first team at Arsenal, providing everyone is fit, looks very good.  On paper, we have a squad that should be challenging for the title.  Two of our key players, however, have huge questions circling over their futures.  Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez look set to leave the club in either January or in the summer window.  With them presumably out of the team, the squad could see some serious re-shaping.

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If Sanchez and Ozil do end up leaving the club, they will leave some enormous shoes to fill.  Sanchez was our most prolific goal scorer last season and Ozil is constantly providing the creative genius we need to win matches.  If they were to depart, they would have to be replaced, either by players already at the club or by players purchased from other teams.

Knowing Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal board as we do, the former is probably the most realistic option.  As aggravating as it is to think about, Wenger will probably decide he can replace both players without spending any money.  This has been the nature of Arsenal since they last won the Premier League in 2004.

This leads us to the question of replacements.  Who in the current team can replace Ozil?  Who can replace Sanchez?  Do we have players good enough to replace them?

Starting with Sanchez, the following players could be under consideration as replacements: Danny Welbeck, Alex Iwobi, and Theo Walcott. Welbeck is a favorite of Wenger’s this season.  He has played in most of our matches this season, only missing a few games due to injury.  He provides pace and fitness to help in the latter stages of a match, but he lacks the killer finish in front of goal.

Iwobi is a more creative player than Welbeck but he lacks the blistering pace of the Englishman.  We saw him on the wing last season playing regularly and producing some very good performances.  He has a tendency to go through bad patches, though, which keeps him in and out of the team.

Walcott is in a slump of epic proportions, losing his place in the first team over a season ago and having almost no impact when brought on as a substitute.  He needs his career to be revived and playing regular first team football could be the answer.  The Walcott of old, dribbling past players and using his pace to great effect, could return with regular game time.

Ozil is an entirely different predicament for Wenger.  He is the type of player that only comes about every few years.  A brilliant football mind like that of the German midfielder cannot adequately be replaced overnight. Having said that, the manager must still decide who to play instead of him.

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The candidates for his position are harder to conjure than those of Sanchez, but the best possible replacements would probably be Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey,  and Iwobi.  Wilshere is the best option, provided he is not injured.  He is a natural play maker and can provide the ball that carves open defenses.  We know his downfall is his injury crisis, but if he can overcome that, he could be very good in the role.

Ramsey is not as gifted as Wilshere mentally, but what he lacks in his mind he makes up for with the ball at his feet.  He is very skillful in tight areas.  He can dribble past defenders to create opportunities for himself.  We saw him at his best in the 2013-14 season when he was named Arsenal’s player of the season.  He has lost some of this form, however, and has never really looked the same since that season.

Iwobi can play both on the wing and through the middle relatively well on his day.  We have seen him in both areas of the pitch and he is capable of putting in a good performance.  The problem lately has been his inability to put in those performances a consistent basis.  He will play brilliantly one week and abysmally the next.

None of these players are really good enough to replace Ozil or Sanchez.  They are temporary answers to big questions that will ultimately only be solved by buying new players that are of the same quality.

The Arsenal squad looks to be in serious trouble if these two players do decide to leave.  We finished in 5th place last year with both of them playing most of our matches.  With the duo gone, who knows what will happen.

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Knowing Wenger we will probably finish in the top four, win the FA Cup, and the board will go home happy.  The fans will be angry as they usually are and we will remain a team that “could” win the league, but realistically have little chance unless new players are bought and a new mentality is introduced.