Stephane Mbia has emerged as a surprise summer transfer target for Arsenal, with reports suggesting that the Gunners are considering a move for the former Queens Park Rangers midfielder.
According to recent reports from The Daily Star, Arsene Wenger is pondering a swoop for Mbia, who - as a free agent - would appear to represent a significant cheaper midfield alternative to the likes of World Cup winner Sami Khedira, Brazilian Luiz Gusatavo or Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlin.
The same source goes on to state that Mbia is looking for a salary of approximately £60,000-per-week from his next club.
A move to Arsenal for Mbia would certainly constitute somewhat of a surprise, particularly when you consider that he was recently released by Premier League newcomers QPR following their promotion from the Championship.
Having arrived at the West London outfit as part of the deal that saw controversial midfielder Joey Barton join Marseille in 2012, Cameroon international Mbia featured on a regular basis during QPR's doomed relegation campaign before being allowed to join Sevilla on loan last August.
Despite proving rather unreliable in the eyes of most QPR fans, Mbia went on to have a surprisingly strong impact at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, making 19 La Liga appearances and helping Unai Emery's side to triumph in the Europa League as part of a midfield that also contained Reading misfit Daniel Carrico.
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New midfielder needed?
Despite appearing to be prioritising the signing of a new central defender following captain Thomas Vermaelen's recent defection to Barcelona, Wenger is arguably still in need of a more combative presence in midfield.
While Spaniard Mikel Arteta - who was recently named as Arsenal's new skipper following Vermaelen's expected exit - currently performs the role of midfield anchor and allows the likes of Aaron Ramsey to make bombing runs forward into the opposition penalty box, but he notably lacks pace and can struggle when expected to make tackles and break down opposition attacks.
Mathieu Flamini is currently on hand to provide cover for Arteta, of course, and it remains to be seen if Mbia is a better option than either of those two players.
Arsenal's midfield certainly looked comfortably their strongest area during last weekend's comprehensive Community Shield victory over Manchester City at Wembley, with Ramsey and Santi Cazorla both etching their names onto the scoresheet before a sublime second-half effort from Olivier Giroud sealed the win.
The Gunners - who finished fourth in the top-flight last season after a combination of injuries and their traditional winter collapse put paid to a previously promising title pursuit - kick off the 2014/15 Premier League campaign with a home fixture against Crystal Palace on Saturday evening.