A while back I did a couple of scouting reports on Arsenal youngsters Reiss Nelson and Julio Pleguezuelo. Since then I've had a few requests for other reports in general and so I figured why not write on two players the club have been heavily linked to in recent months? So here is the first of a two-part scouting report.
Name: Oğuzhan Özyakup.
Who is he?
Özyakup began his youth career at Arsenal as a central midfielder and slowly began to develop in a more attacking role in his final two seasons before moving to Turkey and Beşiktaş, where he continued to alternate between central and attacking midfield. The Beşiktaş manager, Şenol Güneş, has recently said that Özyakup has been disciplining himself in a more defensive role and he's being likened to the perfect Santi Cazorla replacement by many. He has well over 200 appearances for Beşiktaş including Europe (UCL & UEL) as well as over 30 caps for Turkey. He's also wanted by a few other Turkish clubs as well as Roma, Juventus, Spurs, Porto and even Chelsea have recently been watching him, definitely catching the eye of some of the best.
Up until recently, Özyakup has been an attack minded, Centre-Mid who's usually categorised as a ball player, however as previously stated he has been training and self-disciplining in a more defensive format, for his game. He's a versatile player who's quality of passing is a fulcrum to his game, notably the key passes. His dribbling, technique and ability to tuck through-balls to a teammate, especially when crowded out is fun to watch and his concentration and focus are especially strong traits in the young Turkish player. Özyakup's long balls are also a very strong attribute and play a bigger part in his game since he's been playing deeper.
There aren't far too many weaknesses in Özyakup's cabinet but the ones that are there, can be tweaked with a little bit of work. His finishing isn't great but let's be honest it isn't pivotal for a midfielder, especially in a team with Strikers like Lacazette and Aubameyang. His tackling ability does need to be worked on considering he's now playing more as protector of the back line rather than always bombing forward, he doesn't like diving into tackles nor really tackling with intent which could possibly put his defence or even keeper at risk. Another weakness Özyakup needs to work on, especially if playing deep is aerial duels. Otherwise there isn't too much for him to work on.
Arsenal, when they first sold Özyakup to Beşiktaş, placed a 30% sell-on on his head and since last year have been attempting to goad the Turkish side with it. Any time a club came calling with intent to sign the Midfielder, Beşiktaş were reminded of the clause and as the summer came and passed and Christmas came around Arsenal told Beşiktaş they'd waive the 30% if they were able to sign him for less than €12m (£10.5m) but Beşiktaş rejected a bid of €7m (£6.1m) in January. Now however, Özyakup is down to the final four months of his contract and has recently been speaking with Arsène Wenger (twice) and even Mesut Özil and I actually believe there is a good chance this move could happen and I for one would be excited if it did.