Arsenal have reportedly offered Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup a contract to return to the club after five-and-a-half years away from north London. Meanwhile, Justin Kluivert has listed the Gunners as one of his preferred destinations if he were to leave Ajax.
Turkish newspaper Aksam noted Arsenal have offered Ozyakup—whose deal with Besiktas expires at the end of this season—a contract to rejoin the club he left in the summer of 2012 (h/t Charles Watts of Football.London).
According to the report, manager Arsene Wenger has already spoken to the player personally about returning to the Emirates Stadium, although Ozyakup is said to have “astronomical transfer offers” on the table.
The 25-year-old played only 27 minutes of first-team football for Arsenal in a four-year spell, although he looks a far more valuable figure after developing during his time in Istanbul:
B/R Football @brfootball
2012: Arsenal youth product Oguzhan Ozyakup leaves for Besiktas
2018: Arsenal look to bring midfielder back on a free transfer
(via @si_soccer) https://t.co/UZf6xIswBv
Ozyakup is reported to be “seriously considering” a move back to the English capital and would do so with a different status after making more than 200 appearances for Besiktas.
Hayters Sports reporter Simon Collings reported on Arsenal’s interest in the player during the January transfer window, further evidence to suggest the Premier League side are serious about re-signing their former prospect:
Simon Collings @sr_collings
Turkish newspaper Aksam say Arsenal are stepping up pursuit of former academy player Oguzhan Ozyakup.
Willing to pay £11m and forego their right to 30 per cent sell-on fee.
So originally Arsenal would pay £11m, but recoup £3.3m due to clause.
Now willing to pay full £11m. https://t.co/6IBCP9lVbT
Wenger remains in need of a more recognised enforcer in midfield after Granit Xhaka has come in for some criticism this season, having failed to establish himself as the engine-room general many envisioned.
Ozyakup isn’t a defensive midfielder per se and offers more going forward than that, although Emre Sarigul of Turkish-Football.com suggested he would fit right in at the Emirates:
Turkish Football @Turkish_Futbol1
Ozyakup misses a sitter. That’s my problem with Ozzy. He isn’t clinical enough. He’s still too.. what’s the word… Arsenal
Elsewhere, Kluivert has put a selection of Premier League clubs on high alert—Arsenal included—after saying England is a country in which he sees himself playing in the near future.
He told Dutch outlet Helden (h/t Watts): “If you get a nice offer, you never know. England appeals to me. Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea or Manchester United are nice clubs where I can see myself playing in a few years.”
Lyall Thomas of Sky Sports previously pointed to the fact Kluivert has Mino Raiola as an agent as a potential factor in the player heading to United, where several stars are represented by the Italian businessman:
Lyall Thomas @SkySportsLyall
On reports that #ManUtd want Justin Kluivert: Player’s agent is Mino Raiola. (You do the math). But didn’t Jose Mourinho just say no new attacking players will be coming to Old Trafford? #MUFC
Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku are counted among his clients, as is new Arsenal signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Kluivert is one of the hottest prospects emerging from the Eredivisie.
His father, former AC Milan and Barcelona star Patrick, spent the 2004-05 season at Newcastle United, and the Gunners now hope to tempt his 18-year-old son to the Premier League more than a decade down the line.