Why Arsenal must sign Etienne Capoue this summer

Arsenal target Etienne Capoue has revealed his desire to leave Toulouse this summer.

The 24-year-old midfielder has been linked with a move to the Emirates for a number of months and it seems now the Gunners may have their best opportunity of signing him.

“I feel it is the moment to leave, to play in big competitions,” Capoue stated in response to questions over his future at the Stadium Municipal.

He stated his intensions of making the French national team for the World Cup next year in Brazil and I would suspect that will weigh heavily on his mind as he contemplates his future this summer.

Capoue has made just 5 appearances for France, despite a number of strong displays in Ligue 1 over the past few seasons.

His compatriot Yann M’Vila had also been a target of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger but the defensive midfielder scuppered his chances of a move to the Emirates with his poor behaviour both on and off the pitch in recent months.

M’Vila is two years Capoue’s junior and is regarded as one of France’s most promising prospects. If Capoue wants to make it into Didier Deschamps’ World Cup squad, a move to Arsenal is exactly what he needs.

Meanwhile, Capoue is exactly what Arsenal need – since the departure of Alex Song to Barcelona, Wenger has lacked physicality in his midfield. Song was never really that much of a defensive-minded player to begin with but, since his departure, Mikel Arteta has been deployed in that position.

Whilst Arteta has had a fine season and has been a revelation as holding midfielder this term for the Gunners, injuries to Abou Diaby and young Emmanuel Frimpong mean there is not one midfielder at the club of more than 6ft.

It’s not just about height but also about power and strength – Arsenal desperately lack that player in the role of Patrick Vieira charging through their midfield, protecting the defence and clearing up the danger when they lose possession.

They need a player capable of doing the dirty work – Arteta has done a fantastic job in that position but it’s not something that comes naturally to him and it’s meant they’ve been over reliant on Santi Cazorla for creativity.

The Gunners have been strongly linked with Celtic youngster Victor Wanyama who is another possibility to add strength and physicality to Wenger’s midfield. However, as I outlined earlier this week, the club should be cautious with deal for Wanyama as he seems to lack loyalty and commitment, despite his hopes of a move to the Emirates.

Capoue would be a better option in my humble opinion – he comes with less baggage than Wanyama who is not all that dissimilar to M’Vila in terms of his risk-factor.

Capoue’s 24, proven and accomplished and he seems to have his head and heart in the right place. He was selected for the Ligue 1 Team of the Year last season and he’s hungry to gain access to the France first team.

He’s quality and class personified and at 6ft2” with plenty of weight to throw around, he’d be an ideal addition for Wenger – a much more solid and reliable addition compared to the likes of Wanyama who needs to mature and sort out his attitude.

Capoue is the best option but Arsenal must act now if they intend to sign him - he wants to leave Toulouse this summer and he will be snapped up by someone else if they don't offer him a move to the Emirates. He's simply not going to sit on the shelf and, by this time next year, he could well have doubled his £12 million price-tag and be tied to a long-term contract elsewhere.

image: © korobukkuru

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