Three midfielders Arsenal could attempt to sign in light of injuries

Lars Bender

Aaron Ramsey's reported setback on his return to first-team training and Jack Wilshere's failure to reach full fitness may force the Gunners into the market.

Arsenal are set to move for a central midfielder before the transfer window closes, according to Goal.com, after respective injury setbacks for Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere.

Arsene Wenger confirmed in his post-match press conference after a 2-2 draw at Southampton that the Gunners' player of the season so far will be sidelined a little while longer after pulling up in first-team training while Wilshere is a serious doubt for the club's upcoming cluster of make-or-break fixtures.

The Gunners are therefore on the market for someone to fill the void left by the duo and the suspended Mathieu Flamini after his reckless tackle late on at St Mary's.

Goal believe two possible targets may be Blaise Matuidi of Paris Saint-Germain or, ironically the man Flamini hacked down, Morgan Schneiderlin.

The duo feature among the three midfielders the club could consider, with another thrown in for good measure.

Blaise Matuidi:

The France international finds himself out of contract at the Parc des Princes this summer and could command a move in the final throes of the window.  In fact, Goal claimed earlier today that Arsenal had approached PSG about the availability of Matuidi, and are reportedly willing to pay "a significant fee" for the player.

PSG, who are on the brink of snapping up Newcastle's Yohan Cabaye for around £20million, have five midfielders for three positions and may be less loathe to lose Matuidi than some of their other central midfield players.

The French giants would obviously rather sell for a fee than see the contract rebel move for free in the summer but a deal may be difficult to complete this late in the window. Arsenal's interest is long-standing and he would provide a box-to-box presence at the heart of their midfield.

Suitability: 4/5

Likelihood: 3/5

 

Morgan Schneiderlin:

The Southampton midfielder showcased his burgeoning credentials as one of the best holding midfielders in the Premier League with a typically combative performance as he helped to frustrate Arsenal in last night's 2-2 draw but he is not the sort to replace Ramsey or Wilshere's drive from midfield and is more likely to make a tackle and release that type of player than get forward to score or assist.

Like Matuidi, Arsenal's scouting of the fellow Frenchman dates back to when he first broke onto the scene with the Saints in 2008, who he has since gone on to make just shy of 200 appearances with.

But unlike Matuidi, the ball is firmly in Southampton's court regarding any potential transfer, with the Frenchman contracted to the south coast outfit until 2017. The Saints would therefore be likely to put a £20-25m price tag on his head in an attempt to ward off any potential late deal.

Suitability: 2/5

Likelihood 2/5

 

Lars Bender

The Bayer Leverkusen midfielder was the subject of a reported failed bid from the Gunners last summer as they sought to bolster their midfield ranks and with the offer supposedly around the £18million mark, it would take megabucks to release him, particularly given the new six-year contract he signed with the club at the back end of the summer.

With that said, Bender is more or less the ideal target for the Gunners, with his all-action style, clever passing and desire to break forward from the shackles of a role in a double pivot.

It is what Arsenal so badly lacked last night with two defensive-minded men at the base of their midfield but Bender provides a lovely hybrid, failing to neglect his defensive duties unlike some of Arsenal's attacking midfield armoury.

In terms of his suitability, at least, there appears no better option, particularly when analysing his performance in his side's 4-2 defeat at Manchester United earlier this season, and the player would certainly enjoy becoming the latest in the club's increasingly Germanic setup, especially if Julian Draxler arrives from Schalke. Whether he is a viable target given his likely hefty price tag, is another matter.

Suitability 5/5

Likelihood 2/5

image: © Илья Хохлов

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