Arsenal have been delivered with a body blow as Santi Cazorla will be missing for at least three more months as he requires surgery on his injured achilles. The Spaniard has been missing for over a month already and his absence has been noticeable with Arsenal struggling in the midfield. The Guardian report that the midfielder visited a specialist during the week and he has been recommended to have surgery to rectify the issue. The report goes on to say that Danny Welbeck has resumed training after his knee injury, which is a bit of positive news to go with the Cazorla update.
This is awful news for Arsenal as Cazorla is the best midfielder they have at launching attacks from midfield. The side’s transition phase is a lot better when the Spaniard is in the starting eleven and their poor performances of late have been a result of problems in the centre of the park. Arsene Wenger hasn’t found his best partnership, with Aaron Ramsey, Francis Coquelin, Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny all competing for a starting spot. Without Cazorla, Wenger needs to find his best pairing soon or risk losing ground in the title race.
The future of Mesut Ozil is precarious as there appears to be little progress being made with his contract talks. The Express report that the German is open to a return to Spanish giants Real Madrid, which will concern Arsenal fans. The midfielder is one of the few players in the Arsenal squad that can compete at the very highest level and it is imperative that they keep him at the club throughout the peak years of his career. When asked about a return to Madrid by Marca, Ozil replied:
“You never know. I am happy playing for such a big club like Arsenal, which has amazing fans and they encourage me a lot. I am playing very well in London, but in football you never know. We’ll see what happens in the future.”
It is crucial that Arsenal sort Ozil’s contract out as soon as possible for a number of reasons. Firstly, he is one of their best players and will be near impossible to replace if he does depart. And secondly, it makes a statement that they are heading in the right direction and their best players want to remain a part of the project. This is especially important for attracting other players of Ozil’s quality to the club. It is unlikely that Ozil will return to Madrid, but the fact that he is considering his future away from the Emirates Stadium is a huge concern.
Finally, the Mirror report that Arsenal will reject any attempt from West Ham to take Carl Jenkinson back to the club. The right back is trying to establish himself as a first team player at the Emirates and has had a few opportunities due to the absence of Hector Bellerin. Arsenal can’t afford to let one of their right backs go as they have shown in recent weeks how they aren’t well stocked in the position.
Although he offers cover at right back, Jenkinson lacks the quality that Arsenal strive for in their squad. On Wednesday against Southampton, he was targeted by the visitors and that could be the case for the coming weeks if he is trusted with the right back role. It could be that his performances over the festive period will have a huge influence on his future role at Arsenal. At the moment, he is seen as a back-up, but even in that role, he is struggling. If West Ham do come in for him in January, Arsenal should consider it.
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