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Four loan signings Arsenal could make in January to replace Mesut Ozil

With Mesut Ozil’s time at the Emirates finally reaching its bitter end, Arsenal could replace the playmaker in January with a number of short-term options.

The 32-year-old’s move to Fenerbahce is set to be announced imminently and will finally bring down the curtain on his seven-and-a-half-year spell in north London.

Ozil hasn’t featured for the Gunners in a competitive match since being exiled from the squad by Mikel Arteta last March.

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The German was originally intent on seeing out the six months remaining on his mammoth £350,000-a-week contract, but has come to an agreement with the club to terminate his deal early.

Arteta’s side struggled to create chances for long parts of the season until a gem was unearthed: Emile Smith Rowe.

The 20-year-old’s introduction has transformed Arsenal’s fortunes and help set them on a six-game unbeaten run, including four wins from their last five Premier League matches.

The Gunners are on the hunt for a creative midfielder, but with the lack of funds at their disposal, deals for targets such as Lyon’s Houssem Aouar and Norwich’s Emiliano Buendia are unlikely to happen until the summer.

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But with a bulk of Ozil and Sokratis’ earnings off the wage bill, and William Saliba and Sead Kolasinac sent out on loan earlier this month, the north Londoners may be able to splash out on a loan player until the end of the season in order to ease the burden on Smith Rowe.

1. ISCO

The Spaniard reportedly wants to secure a move away from the Bernabeu after failing to land a regular starting berth under Zinedine Zidane this season.

Four loan signings Arsenal could make in January to replace Mesut Ozil

Isco is expected to replace Mesut Ozil at Arsenal

Isco has been at the club since 2013 and played a pivotal role in Madrid winning two La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues, however, the majority of the midfielder’s 11 appearances this term have been as a substitute.

The Spain international’s current contract is due to expire in the summer, but he is looking for an early exit and certainly isn’t short of suitors.

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The Gunners would likely have to battle with Sevilla for his signature, with Isco said to be keen on linking back up with former Spain boss Julen Lopetegui at the Sanchez-Pizjuan.

If Arsenal were able to get a deal for Isco over the line, his natural ability to unlock defences would be a key asset for Arteta, while there wouldn’t be many better for young Smith Rowe to learn from.

2. MARTIN ODEGAARD

Isco’s Real Madrid team-mate Odegaard is also on the lookout for a new challenge due to a lack of playing time under Zidane.

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Four loan signings Arsenal could make in January to replace Mesut Ozil

Arsenal looks to sign the real madrid starlet on loan

The 22-year-old arrived at the Bernabeu back in 2015 as one of the most highly-rated young talents on the planet, but his career hasn’t reached the dizzying heights that were once predicted.

Odegaard impressed on loan at Real Sociedad last season and his spell was cut short by a year to return to Madrid under the guise that he would be afforded more opportunities.

However, the midfielder has made just three starts in La Liga this season, resulting in the Norway international reportedly requesting yet another loan spell. Odegaard’s pinpoint passing and silky dribbling would see him seriously rival Smith Rowe at the Emirates and could help his own stock rise in the process.

3. RIQUI PUIG

Puig is another youngster vying to prove his worth but not currently being afforded the opportunity to do so.

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Four loan signings Arsenal could make in January to replace Mesut Ozil

The Barca youngster has been made available for loan

The Barcelona academy graduate has spent a total of just 21 minutes on the pitch in La Liga this season, with boss Ronald Koeman delivering a blunt assessment of the 21-year-old recently.

‘I like people who work every day to improve, and who take opportunities with both hands,’ he said. ‘Sometimes it’s not just about quality. There may be players who don’t do enough in training for the coach to give opportunities.’

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The midfielder has been made available for loan in January, with Arsenal and Leeds United reported suitors.

The Gunners may be hesitant to take a punt on an out-of-favour Barcelona midfielder given how poorly Denis Suarez’s six-month loan spell at the Emirates worked out In 2019.

But Puig would represent a low-risk option for the Gunners and could fill a temporary void until their primary targets can be pursued in the summer.

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4. CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN

Eriksen has been heavily linked with a January move away from Inter Milan after his disappointing first 12 months at the Italian club.

Four loan signings Arsenal could make in January to replace Mesut Ozil

Four loan signings Arsenal could make in January to replace Mesut Ozil

The Denmark international made the switch to Inter from Tottenham a year ago, but hasn’t got to grips with Antonio Conte’s style of play at San Siro.

After being limited to just nine Serie A appearances this term, Inter are said to be keen on offloading the 28-year-old this month on loan.

The question would be which iteration of Eriksen the Gunners would be getting. During the majority of his time at Tottenham, the attacking midfielder was a masterful set-piece taker, capable of chipping in with plenty of goals and assists.

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Should the former Tottenham man be able to rediscover his best form, he would be a useful addition to the squad.

Former Gunners striker Kevin Campbell is convinced Eriksen is a ‘superb’ talent and would put club rivalries aside to welcome him back to north London.

‘Eriksen played for the rivals but we all know the quality he possesses, that is for sure,’ Campbell told Football Insider in November.

It is not quite working out for him at Inter Milan right now and I am sure he would be a good addition to Arsenal’s squad.

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‘I do not care if he played for Spurs – he is a superb player who can bring something to the table for Arsenal.’

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