Five players Arsenal should look at to replace Santi Cazorla, Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic

Football Weeks has highlight a list of five players Arsenal should look to sign with Barcelona’s and Croatian international Ivan Rakitic.

Arsenal will not be happy with the latest injury blow to Santi Cazorla, with the Spaniard confirming via his Twitter that he was set for a further delay to his return to action.

He has been a big miss for Arsenal since his injury over a year ago now, and he’s admitted he’s had to undergo surgery again as the wait continues for his comeback.

Arsene Wenger should probably already have done more to strengthen in that part of his squad, but this latest Cazorla blow surely means new signings will come in before too long.

Of course, the Gunners are not known for spending their way out of trouble and are often patient with their injured players, with the likes of Abou Diaby and Thomas Rosicky continuing plying their trade for many years despite barely playing.

Hopefully, Wenger won’t go down that route again, so let’s take a look at five realistic signings he should be targeting to fill Cazorla’s boots…

Leon Goretzka

Schalke’s Leon Goretzka

According to the Daily Mirror, Arsenal may already be considering strengthening their midfield as Wenger eyes Schalke contract rebel Leon Goretzka.

The 22-year-old Germany international looks a big talent for shinning for the Bundesliga and Germany’s national team in recent times, showing that he could be a creative force for many top clubs around Europe.

Arsenal may face competition for his signature, but if the Gunners could hijack him from Schalke on a free transfer, Goretzka seems the ideal player to be a long-term replacement for Cazorla.

Ivan Rakitic

Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic

Diario Gol recently linked Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic with Manchester United, while Spanish source Don Balon followed that up saying the Croatian international could consider leaving the La Liga giants if they eventually sign Liverpool’s and Brazilian international Philippe Coutinho.

While there is yet to be reported interest from the Gunners, Rakitic could be available for a transfer in the near future and looks another top passer who could fit in perfectly in Arsene Wenger’s team.

The Croatian has wealth of experience of winning major honours with Barca, having won the La Liga title three times with Barcelona.

His last five matches per WhoScored ratings has been nothing below 6.45 averaging a total 89.6 pass accuracy for Barcelona in the La Liga this season better than Arsenal’s most preferred options in the middle of park this season.

Ivan Rakitic comparisons with Arsenal’s midfielders. (Credit: WhoScored.com)

Bernardo Silva

Bernardo Silva

Not currently in Pep Guardiola’s first-team choice at Manchester City, Bernardo Silva is diamond in the rough who could work straightly in the Gunners team.

The Portuguese was brilliant for Monaco side that won the Ligue 1 title right from the face of Paris Saint-Germain and a recent report from Gol Digital suggested Barcelona could consider a surprise move for him as cheap alternative to Coutinho.

If he continues not play regular football for the current Premier League table leaders, there’s no reason Arsenal shouldn’t be in there to try and offer him the first-team football he deserves.

Nabil Fekir

Nabil Fekir

Nebir Fekir has recently been linked by the Daily Star with a move to Arsenal, his current form suggested the Frenchman is being lined as a replacement for Alexis Sanchez.

Sanchez is out of contract with Arsenal in the summer, and Fekir has already scored double figures this season from an attacking midfield role.

However, the Lyon star is versatile and could adjust to a deeper role with the North London club if required, which may be an option Wenger wants to think about now that he knows Cazorla is now even set for longer on the sidelines.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Currently on loan with Crystal Palace from Chelsea but Arsenal could raid the Blues for the talented young midfielder.

The England star was superb for England during his debut recently and looks unlikely to get the chances he deserves at Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea having a poor record of trusting their academy stars.

Arsenal have not been linked with the Chelsea man yet, but he looks a similarly skillful and creative player who could play the Cazorla role, and the Gunners have had success in signing bit-part players from Chelsea in the past, with William Galas, Lassana Diarra and Petr Cech recent examples.

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Bertrand Francois is the editor of Football Weeks. An experienced online and print journalist, Jamie has worked for IRAIW, Arsenal Presser, Soccerlens and countless other media sources over the years. He is from Republic Du Benin and lives in the busiest town Cotonou. – Facebook and Twitter