Arsenal may be able to solve their defensive midfield problem in January without actually spending any money.
Arsene Wenger's prudence when it comes to transfers is well documented, and he frustrated Gunners fans this summer when he failed to sign the midfield enforcer that they were desperately craving.
Arsenal had targeted the likes of Real Madrid's Sami Khedira and Sporting Lisbon's William Carvalho, but Wenger deemed both to be too expensive.
As a result, he went into the season with just Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini available to him to fill the role of a defensive midfielder, and it has already cost the side.
Arsenal have been exposed on numerous occasions defensively and, despite their obvious attacking talent, it has had a major impact on their form.
The North London side have regularly thrown away leads and looked susceptible when facing teams of a high quality.
It is a problem that has been going on for far too long at the Emirates Stadium, but there may be a solution that pleases everyone.
Wenger is famed for his ability to spot a bargain transfer, and Nigel de Jong could be a player to satisfy both him and the supporters at the Emirates.
The AC Milan midfielder is available to sign a pre-contract agreement in January, meaning that Arsenal would not have to spend any money to secure him next summer.
The Gunners would have to wait until next season until he arrived at the club, but after such a prolonged period without a defensive midfielder another six months is unlikely to be too costly.
De Jong has expressed a willingness to sign a contract extension at the San Siro, but no new deal has been presented and the prospect of returning to England is sure to be an appealing one to the former Manchester City man.
Although De Jong is now reaching the twilight of his career, he is exactly the sort of player Arsenal have missed for some time.
A tough-tackler, with a dogged determination and a love of defending, he would provide far more protection to their back-line then any of their current options in midfield.
De Jong also has the technical ability to be able to cope in a fluid passing system and has played in England before, meaning he should take no time to settle in the Premier League.
The signing makes sense in a number of ways and, considering Wenger will still have all of his budget to spend on other areas of his squad, it is a transfer which should be seriously contemplated by the experienced French boss.