Ballack comments on Lahm suggest possible hope for Arsenal on Martinez

Michael Ballack has suggested he can't see Philipp Lahm vacating the defensive midfield role at Bayern Munich.

Former Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack has suggested Philipp Lahm could be Bayern Munich’s holding midfielder for the next three or four years, casting doubt over the future of Javi Martinez.

Martinez lost his place in the Bayern Munich side last season (he made just 18 appearances) when Pep Guardiola decided to move Lahm further up the field from right-back.

Ballack has suggested that he can’t see Lahm going back to playing in the back four, which suggests if Arsenal want to sign the Spanish midfielder, they may have a good chance of getting him.

“I can imagine that Philipp could not taste a return to the back four, he is now 30 years old – in defensive midfield he could play with his intelligence at the highest level for another three or four years,” Ballack is quoted by Die Welt.

Martinez has seen his position changed as Guardiola, and Spanish national coach Vicente Del Bosque, try to fit him into the team.

He played in the centre of defence for Bayern Munich ten times last season and was also used in a back four role for Spain, with Del Bosque pairing him with Sergio Ramos.

While Arsene Wenger is a master at helping players adapt to new positions, any move on his part for Martinez would be to buy him as a defensive midfielder, addressing an area for concern in Arsenal’s back four.

The fact he has experience of playing in the centre of defence makes him a good potential buy because that versatility gives him extra options.

However, should captain Thomas Vermaelen leave the club this summer, it’s unlikely Wenger will replace the Belgian with anyone other than an out and out experienced centre-back.

Arsenal were crying out for a presence in front of their back four last season and the £20 million Bayern Munich man could be just the player to create just that, especially if his position is under threat at Bayern for years.

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