Arsenal legend names surprise replacement for Mesut Ozil this summer

Arsenal legend-turned-pundit Paul Merson believes the Gunners would consider offloading Mesut Ozil in the summer despite the midfielder’s improved showing under Unai Emery over the past few games. The former Germany international has been in-and-out of the starting lineup this term due to form and fitness concerns but he has recently won over the manager with three successive starts in all competitions.

Despite this, Merson does not believe Ozil will remain at the Emirates beyond the summer with the board likely to take the opportunity to sanction his departure. Adding further, the ex-Arsenal favourite suggested that Gareth Bale from Real Madrid could be an option, although he has not been linked with the Gunners in any form this year.

He told Sky Sports: “If they could get him in and get Mesut Ozil out they’ve had a big result. Bale would be brilliant at Chelsea as well but that all depends on their transfer embargo. If it’s delayed could they do some kind of swap with Eden Hazard? I think Hazard is going to Real Madrid. He would have signed a new contract by now otherwise. But Bale would not be a bad replacement, would he?”

“Bale has had his fair share of injury concerns over the years but when in good health" , he has proved an influential figure on the playing field for Real Madrid. Nonetheless, a Gunners approach for the Welshman appears highly unlikely, given the club are deemed to be working on a restricted £45m summer budget, while they won’t come close to “matching the attacker’s wages" .

Arsenal are currently bracing themselves for the departure of Aaron Ramsey on a free transfer to Juventus at the end of the season, and the focus could initially lie on pursuing another recruit to bolster the centre of the park before considering additions in other departments.