3 Marseille stars who may interest Arsenal - including Chelsea target

Arsenal Applaud

When Arsenal face Marseille in the Champions League this week, three points will be the primary concern of manager Arsene Wenger.

However, with Wenger notorious for scouring French football for talent to bring to North London, the game at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday may represent a great chance to get a first hand look at some potential transfer targets from Marseille. Here are three players who have recently been linked with moves to Arsenal, and could be facing their future employers in midweek...

Nicolas N'Koulou – Centre back

The Cameroon international made his name with Monaco, but after the Moneqasque side were relegated to Ligue 2, N'Koulou jumped straight back into the top flight with a move to Marseille. Whilst he's slightly shorter than ideal for a centre half at 6ft, N'Koulou is fleet footed and positionally sound, whilst he can also play in holding midfield should he be needed to. With the future of Thomas Vermaelen somewhat murky at this point, Arsenal could well be looking to add another defender in January and N'Koulou could be the man, should he impress again this week.

Giannelli Imbula – Defensive Midfielder

Arsenal were rumoured to be interested in 21 year old whilst he was with Guingamp, but after impressing for Marseille, the Gunners could return in January. Despite reportedly being something of a “problem child” within the Marseille camp, a £25m has been suggested for the French Under 21 international, with Premier League rivals Chelsea also monitoring his situation. Mathieu Flamini has impressed since returning to the Emirates Stadium, but the chance to add a young player in front of the back four may appeal to Wenger, particularly when it's a player who he has supposedly been interested in before.

Florian Thauvin, Attacking midfielder

Arsenal were linked with Thauvin twice – whilst he was with Bastia and at Lille too, where the 20 year old refused to attend training in order to force a move away. Despite only moving to Marseille for £12.7m in the summer, Wenger has once again been linked with a move for Thauvin, whose dribbling and pace have made him a great asset for Elie Baup this season. Arsenal aren't exactly struggling for attacking midfielders, but as with Imbula, adding young talent to a developing team may be too tempting for Wenger.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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