Done deal? £8.6m Arsenal target skips game and goes to La Liga

Josuha Guilavogui has signed for Atletico Madrid for a fee believed to be in the region of €10 to €12 million.

Arsenal may have re-signed Mathieu Flamini this week, but they are still said to be in the running for yet another defensive midfielder this summer.

Yohan Cabaye has been linked with the club, after Arsenal made a bid for the player recently. But there appears to be a stumbling block over a price-tag - and with that in mind they must consider other options.

One such option is reportedly Josuha Guilavogui of St Etienne.

The box-to-box dynamo was reportedly the subject of an £8.6 million enquiry from the North London club recently and the French international is keen on a move.

Les Verts were dumped out of the Europa League last week to Esbjerg of Denmark - which is said to have been the final straw for the talented player.

Today St Etienne were in action against Bordeaux and won 2-1 - but there was no place in the squad for Guilavogui.

Before the game the club manager Christophe Galtier admitted that the player could leave in order for them to increase their attacking options - with Mevlut Erdinc and Yohann Mollo of Rennes and Nancy respectively expected to arrive in the Loire.

And after the game it was reported he had left - but not for Arsenal.

As reported earlier in the week it is Atletico Madrid who have secured his signature, in a deal believed to be worth €10 to €12 million.

So Arsenal will either have to settle for Flamini, or go back in for Cabaye this summer.

Unless ... because just moments ago St Etienne boss Galtier confirmed his player was in Madrid, but that no deal had been completed:

"We lost a very good playerPlayers are present here, but did not sign.Josuha east towards Spain but has not signed.We have lost a very good player.To correct the rumors Josuha never asked to leave after the defeat to the Danes. He fell an important proposal. I had a discussion with Josuha who has never expressed a desire to leave.We just discussed to find the best deal possible and be win-win.But at present Josuha has not signed the Atlético Madrid."

Here are ten facts about Guilavogui…

1) 22-year-old defensive midfielder Guilavogui started his football education at local clubs La Marine Toulon and Sporting Toulon. He then moved to Loire to play in the youth system at Les Verts in 2005.

2) Guilavogui went to the same primary school as Newcastle United target Bafetimbi Gomis. Gomis went on to look after the younger player during his time at St Etienne.

3) The 6ft 2ins powerhouse received his debut in January 2009 in a Coupe de France match against Bordeaux.

4) The manager who gave him his first step into professional football was former Portsmouth boss Alain Perrin.

5) Nowadays he acts as the vice-captain for the club, taking the armband when Loic Perrin is either unavailable or not selected.

6) As well as playing in midfield, he has been used on occasion as an emergency centre back.

7) He is also a regular in the youth teams for the French national football set-up - playing at Under-18, 19 and 21 level.

8) He recently made his debut for Les Bleus senior outfit and now has three caps - all coming recently against Uruguay, Brazil and Belgium.

9) Before deciding to play for France he was often asked to play international football for Guinea - with whom he qualifies through his mother.

10) Despite his predominantly defensive role, Guilavogui is not averse to scoring goals - usually using his supreme athleticism to race clear beyond defenders before finishing. Not dissimilar to the way in which a certain Patrick Vieira used too - but I will stop short of dubbing him ‘the next Vieira’.

image: © azuaje

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch