If Jack Wilshere exits The Emirates this summer, Arsenal may already have a replacement lined up.
Gunes are reporting that Arsenal had a 7 million euro bid rejected for their former youth team midfielder Oguzhan Özyakup in January. The Turk’s contract is expiring this summer and there is talk that Arsenal will attempt to snap him up for nothing if a new deal for Jack Wilshere doesn’t materialise.
Özyakup spent four years in North London between 2008 and 2012 before being sold to Turkish Super Lig side Besiktas for a fee of around £450,000 with Arsenal holding a 30% sell on clause. He has gone on to play over 150 times for Besiktas.
I, like most people, expect that Wilshere will re-sign with Arsenal, which would render this transfer redundant, but there are stumbling blocks at present such as the discrepancy between Wilshere’s wage and the amount of games Arsene Wenger has been able to get out of him over the last few years. So if Wilshere were to leave, Özyakup could well be an ideal replacement. The fact he would cost Arsenal nothing in the way of transfer fees is an obvious benefit, they have other needs to tend to in the upcoming off season (DEFENDERS!) so not having to fork out for another midfielder would be beneficial. Replacing an Arsenal youth product with another is an ideal transition as well, it’s a luxury to have a player come in to the club who already knows the set up, the area and has been educated in the way the team plays.
Özyakup has been in good form this season in Turkey, scoring 5 goals and providing 7 assists, compared to just 1 goal and 2 assists for Wilshere. Usually the fact that Özyakup has played 14 games more would be a point in Wilshere’s favour when comparing those statistics, but Wilshere’s lack of game time has been a concern for what feels like an eternity, there’s no doubting his quality and by all accounts Wilshere is one of the few players at the club who’s commitment to the cause can never be questioned, but can Arsenal commit to another long term pact with the injury prone midfielder?
Özyakup only made three match day squads while at Arsenal, the first of which came as an unused substitute in Arsenal’s infamous 8-2 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford. If the Turkish midfielder does return to North London, he’ll hope to be involved in better results than that one. He’ll have big shoes to fill where the Arsenal faithful are concerned, local boy Wilshere will always be a favourite with the fans at The Emirates, if he indeed does play his last game for his boyhood team this season.