Turan a perfect complement, not replacement, to Ozil at Arsenal
Arsenal have identified Barcelona midfielder Arda Turan as their preferred replacement for Mesut Ozil in the summer, according to a report in the Times.
The newspaper says the Gunners are ready to offer £25 million for the Turkey international, who has struggled to break into Barcelona's starting lineup since his move from Atletico Madrid.
With Ozil and Alexis Sanchez possibly heading for the exit this summer, it's clear Arsenal will need reinforcements. But how would Turan fit in at Arsenal? Here's a look ...
Could he replace Ozil?
While Turan is touted as a possible replacement for Ozil, his playing style is very different from the Germany playmaker. Turan could perhaps be better described as a feistier version of Santi Cazorla, and it's quite possible that Arsene Wenger envisions him filling the shoes of the injury-prone Spaniard instead. In fact, Turan seems more like a perfect partner to Ozil rather than a straight replacement -- someone to add passion and fire to the German's calculated coolness. You can imagine Arsenal buying Turan in the hope that it would convince Ozil to stay.
What would he bring to the team?
Turan can play either on the wing or as a central playmaker, equally capable of scoring a goal as creating one for a teammate. While he has struggled to get off the bench for Barcelona, he still has 11 goals in all competitions, including two hat tricks. Turan is also the kind of combative fighter Arsenal are often accused of lacking, having been schooled by Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid. He was a key part of the Atletico side that beat Barcelona and Real Madrid to the Spanish league title in 2014. He knows what it takes to overcome rivals with bigger resources.
What are the drawbacks?
Turan would undoubtedly be a great addition and a big step up compared to the likes of Alex Iwobi and Aaron Ramsey. But if Ozil and Sanchez do leave, he won't be enough to make up for their absence. He'd be a better signing if he was joining up with Arsenal's current star duo, not replacing them. And at 30, he would be a short-term solution for a long-term problem. He would also be the latest star name to join Arsenal only because he found himself surplus to requirements at his previous club -- like Sanchez, Ozil and Petr Cech before him -- reinforcing the perception they can't compete for the hottest names on the transfer market.
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.