What is really behind an Arsenal 'move' for Geoffrey Kondogbia?
While it is certainly a welcome development compared to rumours the club are advancing on signing Gareth Barry, fans may want to ask, why?
Now on the face of it that may seem a very simple question to answer.
Kondogbia is a much sought-after young player, a central midfielder who has predictably been compared to Patrick Vieira because of his nationality and rangy physique.
He would fill a void for the club in defensive midfield, and is an outstanding prospect for the future. When it comes to signing footballers, Arsene Wenger's penchant for signing young Frenchman full of potential is no secret.
But there may be more to their interest suddenly being 'revived' than meets the eye.
For it is the second time in less than a week that Arsenal have been linked with signing one of Real Madrid's top targets.
First there was Luis Suarez, strongly linked with a move to the Bernabeu. Arsenal 'sources' were quick to deny politics being behind the bid.
For Madrid are currently playing hardball with Arsenal over Gonzalo Higuain, a striker who it appeared had been North London bound.
Now Kondogbia is linked with a switch to Arsenal, could it really be that the Gunners are playing aggressive?
By going after Madrid's targets, they are showing the Spaniards that if they don't release Higuain, then Arsenal will put that cash to other use, interfering with the European giants' plans of their own.
Madrid's signing of Illarramendi, confirmed earlier, may see their interest in Kondogbia shelved, but the interest of Arsenal in the Frenchman if it were a tactic is one which is clear to comprehend.
They say one or two can be put down to coincidence and luck, but if Arsenal are linked to swiping away a third Real Madrid target, we may be a little closer to knowing what the Gunners are up to.
If the papers start linking Arsenal with a ridiculous mega-bid for Gareth Bale, then we'll know that somebody at Arsenal is drip-feeding the media information to crank up the pressure on Madrid and turn the screw on the Higuain deal.
Whether it has any chance of working, is another matter. For Madrid have set their price, and if Arsenal don't want to pay it they won't get him. If they are playing games, it's time to get serious.
image: © Jan S0L0