There are two words I can think of which instantly help Arsenal fans pick themselves up from the grim, but ever-increasing, prospect of losing contract rebels Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez; those two words are Nabil Fekir.
Should the incoming winds of change blow Lyon’s playmaker in the direction of the Emirates Stadium – a £60million forecast many well-respected journalists are predicting – then I’m confident any mourning process would be pretty short-lived.
For Fekir would be the snuggest of snug fits in a Gunners side that seems to be craving a sense of fresh direction.
Adrian Clarke, football betting expert and ex-Arsenal player, mulls over the prospect of the Gunners’ upcoming signing…
The timing of the link is excellent, as the Frenchman is in the form of his life.
Fully recovered from a cruciate knee ligament injury that sabotaged his 2015-16 campaign, the 24-year-old has bagged 12 goals in 15 appearances this term.
If he were a striker that would be a fantastic return, but Fekir operates as an attacking midfielder that loves to collect the ball between the lines.
At his most lethal when driving inside from the centre-right, the left-footed magician is blessed with traits shared with the likes of Messi, Coutinho, Hazard and Robben.
Beautifully balanced, able to dribble at great pace, sublime in tight areas, and capable of making a killer pass or delivering a telling finish; he’s a fast-developing forward that would light up the Premier League.
And at 24, the next five years are destined to be his best yet.
Either in January or at the end of the season, I believe he’d be a sensational acquisition.
In the meantime, do I think the aforementioned Ozil and Sanchez have downed tools? No, I do not.
Their recent, quite magnificent display at Everton, outlined the qualities they still bring to the table, but consistency has been elusive for both to cling on to.
A combination of final-year-of-contract distractedness, plus frustration at the level of performance from the side as a whole, appears to have blunted their edge.
Footballers need to be at boiling point to produce their best form, and the truth is that ‘temperature of performance’ is hard to find when so much uncertainty lingers.
It doesn’t make them bad pros, but if it is confirmed they definitely no longer want to be a part of Arsene Wenger’s plans, then it is important that Arsenal don’t dwell on that sad situation.
£60m-rated Nabil Fekir is on Arsenal’s transfer radar, confirms @DeanJonesBR pic.twitter.com/fluAu8XRft
— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 13, 2017
The priority must be finding someone else that wants to be Wenger’s main man, and if that’s Nabil Fekir, I believe the Gunners should snap his hand off.
There will be other suitors for his signature, so moving fast would be wise. But when it comes to the negotiations, Arsenal’s trump card could be Alexandre Lacazette.
Fekir and Lacazette struck up a fabulous understanding at Lyon, and the prospect of taking that partnership to the next level in north London will surely appeal to both Frenchmen.
They know they bring the best out of one another, and chemistry like that is a rare and precious commodity.
Would a move for Ligue One’s rising star instantly propel Arsenal into title challengers?
No, it wouldn’t. There is lots of work to be done on remodelling the side and it’s tactical approach, especially in the defensive department.
More new faces are required to elevate the side to a place where the fans want and expect them to be.
But landing Fekir, one of world football’s most exciting attacking talents, will be just the fillip the Gunners need to embark on the post-Ozil and Alexis chapters.
All good things come to an end, and it’s important to remember that unlike those who have their eyes on a new challenge, Fekir’s best years are still ahead of him.
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