Ozil is set to be out of contract at the end of the season.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger may have just given a pretty big clue about who he’s got in mind to replace Mesut Ozil as the team’s main playmaker.
The Gunners face losing Ozil on a free transfer in the summer as he looks no closer to signing a new contract, with the Daily Mirror recently claiming he had his heart set on a move to Manchester United and had told team-mates he was confident of the deal going through.
As quoted today in the London Evening Standard, Wenger admitted he was not currently pursuing a move for one potential replacement in Monaco winger Thomas Lemar, and hinted he had no specific transfer plans for January or next summer.
Further quotes from the Independent have seen Wenger discussing Jack Wilshere’s role in the team, and the Frenchman seemed very keen to talk the England international up as someone who could move into a more attacking role.
Wilshere has largely played in defensive midfield or in a box-to-box role for much of his career so far, but with a potential vacancy further forward coming up soon, Wenger suggested he sees a future for the 25-year-old in Ozil’s position.
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‘In my head he’s more a higher up player (than a midfielder),’ Wenger said. ‘I see him more as a player who can affect the game in the final third than a box to box player.
‘I see him more as somebody who has a quick response, quick reactions in the final third and the quality of the pass in the final third.
‘He turns well the game forward, he can chip a little ball, he can pass people on the short space. That’s why I think the system suits him well.’
While Arsenal fans would dearly love to see former academy star Wilshere make it at the Emirates Stadium, putting all their eggs into that particular basket looks a risky strategy by Arsenal.
The former Bournemouth loanee has struggled with injuries for much of his career and has rarely looked close to performing at the kind of level Ozil has at his peak.
Fans will hope Wenger is just trying to improve Wilshere’s confidence as he seems to slowly ease him back into the first-team this season.
Besides, Wilshere’s contract is also up in the summer and, like Ozil, his Emirates future is by no means guaranteed either.