Arsenal are reportedly interested in bringing back former youth academy graduate and Turkish international midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.
According to the Daily Star (via Turkish outlet AMK), Arsenal “sent a spy” to scout the midfielder ahead of a possible January move.
Besiktas are said to be willing to part with their young midfielder if an offer in the region of £8 million came in.
Ozyakup’s versatility makes him a valuable asset to his club and country as he can play in both a deep and advanced role. If Arsenal were to purchase the youngster, he would likely be used in a deeper role as backup to Francis Coquelin.
Ozyakup has made 114 appearances for Besiktas since moving from Arsenal in 2011 for a fee of £350,000. He has gone on to score 15 goals, lay off 30 assists, and has made 12 appearances from for his country since then.
He was born in the Netherlands but chose to represent Turkey at the age of 19 after appearing for the Dutch at youth level. Arsenal signed him to an academy contract from AZ Alkmaar in 2008.
He scored his first international goal for Turkey against the Netherlands this past September, in a match that essentially ensured the Dutch would not be participated in this summers European Championship in France.
It would be a bit shocking to see Arsenal pay £8 million for a player they did not deem good enough for the first team four years ago. Ozyakup has shown he is a capable player, but may not necessarily be the caliber of player that Arsenal is looking for.
Likewise, a move back to North London would seem like a step backward for Ozyakup. He would waste away on the bench at Arsenal and his growth would be stunted. He is better served at a club like Besiktas where he gets European football, competes for a title, and is a key member of a good team.
Arsenal will likely let Mathieu Flamini leave the club at the end of his contract this summer. Mikel Arteta could be facing the same fate, although that is unlikely considering the leadership qualities he brings to the dressing room.
Flamini’s and possibly Arteta’s departure would leave a void in central midfield, especially considering the injury history of Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey, coupled with Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky hitting their early to mid 30’s.
Two youngsters could very possibly fill up the void left by both players, though. Jeff Reine-Adelaide, one of Arsenal’s most highly regarded youngsters, and Gedion Zelalem, who is on loan with Rangers and has already made 10 appearances and notched four assists, could both see more time in the first team next season. Both players have been tipped as stars of the future, but both have found a pathway into the first team difficult to find due to the luxury of depth Arsenal have in central midfielders.
Considering the price, the caliber of the player, and the consequences this move would have on two of Arsenal’s most prized youngsters, it is difficult to imagine Ozyakup making the move back to London.