...but does that mean he should be pursued in January, or are there more factors to consider?
Arsenal’s interest in Lyon midfielder Yoann Gourcuff has once again reared its head. Arsene Wenger is known to be a massive fan of the French international and has followed his progress for many a year. But in the past the talented playmaker has gone elsewhere - with Lyon, Bordeaux and AC Milan previous destinations.
But according to French reports Arsenal could finally get their man in January - should they still want him.
The 27-year-old is currently in talks with Lyon officials about extending his 2015 contract expiry by two years, but those deals apparently hit a snag yesterday.
The clubs president Jean-Michel Aulas is desperate to trim his wage bill, but also keep hold of Gourcuff - with the two options not exactly being conducive to the others implementation.
Gourcuff is rumoured to be on £90k-a-week in France - and he is not said to be willing to discuss a significant wage cut to stay at Lyon.
It marks a massive change from the start of the season, when he almost joined Lorient and was also linked with Rennes.
Now Lyon are desperate to keep hold of him, because he is finally starting to rediscover some of his best form after years of injury and poor performances have blighted his career.
Gourcuff has come into the season fully fit, and been firing on all cylinders in Ligue 1.
He bagged the Goal of the Month for August with a sensational free-kick and has been one of Ligue 1’s standout performers so far.
To compare him to an Arsenal player statistically this season why not look at Jack Wilshere?
Both are naturally gifted, all-round midfielders who have been plagued with injury problems over the past two years.
But in terms of their respective seasons it is a no-brainer, Gourcuff has been far better.
With two goals and two assists from his four games Gourcuff has been on fire, although recently tailed off after switching back to centre of the park. By comparison, Wilshere has not bagged a single goal or assist in the Premier League.
But his pass success rate is far below Wilshere’s 89% (Gourcuff has a success rate of 80%). But when you consider that they complete almost the same amount of average passes per game it is clear that Gourcuff is one for trying to probe further forward in comparison to Wilshere - his 2.5 key passes per game compared to Wilshere’s figure of 1.4 also suggests this trend.
Gourcuff also delivers more crosses, but is more likely to give the ball away.
In reality, there is not much between the two. When you consider the difference in standard between Ligue 1 and the Premier League - it soon becomes apparent that signing Gourcuff, as nice as it would be, is something of an unnecessary expense unless he arrives on the cheap.
With Aaron Ramsey also constantly improving, Gourcuff can have all the stats in the world, but unless he is at the right price, The Gunners do not need him.
Do you think Gourcuff is a necessary pursuit in January?
image: © Julien Haler