Arsene Wenger is ready to take Arsenal's transfer talks into overdrive by launching a £20 million offer for Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, reports The Daily Express.
The Arsenal manager is already pursuing Barcelona star Alexis Sanchez and Newcastle United's Mathieu Debuchy in a double deal that could cost Arsenal £35 million. Arsenal believe Sanchez will cost them around £25 million while Newcastle are demanding £10 million for their French right-back.
£55 million spending spree
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has already seen Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw leave, and won't accept a bid below the £20 million valuation.
Wenger is reportedly confident that Arsenal will agree deals with both Debuchy and Sanchez in the near future, but has no intention of stopping there. He is ready to dip further into his £100 million transfer budget and attempt to take his spending up to £55 million with an impressive bid for Schneiderlin.
World Cup scouting
The 24-year-old has been a bit-part player in France's World Cup campaign so far, but because Wenger has been following Les Bleus as a pundit, he has had plenty of time to run the rule over him. The Arsenal manager has been impressed and is ready to meet Southampton's asking price.
Wenger is also well aware that Schneiderlin is drumming up interest from other parties including Rafa Benitez's Napoli and north London rivals Tottenham. Neither club could match Arsenal financially but there is always the chance of becoming embroiled in a bidding war, pushing the price up.
Napoli have already tabled a bid believed to be around £12 million and Wenger wants to sneak in with a bigger offer before they return.
£20 million seems a hefty price to pay for a player with no experience in the Champions League and two international caps for France. It seems even stranger when you think that for just £7 million more, Wenger could have sent Arsenal fans into pandemonium by re-signing Cesc Fabregas.
Wenger needs a defensive midfielder as opposed to a creative one, which Fabregas is. Schneiderlin operates deeper for Southampton, breaking up opposition attacks as well as starting them for the Saints.
He has been impressive but £20 million seems an inflated price and when have Arsenal fans ever seen Wenger pay for a player with an inflated price tag? If Arsenal are to sign this long-term target, the price would have to come down more, one would think.