Arsene Wenger is weighing up a surprise offer for Lassana Diarra as he looks to address Arsenal's main weakness in defensive midfield.
The Daily Express reports that the former Chelsea and Real Madrid star - who is currently a free agent following his release from Lokomotiv Moscow this summer - has been identified by the Gunners boss as the man to plug the hole in front of his back four.
Diarra has been on the lookout for a new club since departing Russia at the end of last season and would almost certainly consider a return to north London where he has also previously played during the 2007/08 campaign.
The 29-year-old's spell at the Emirates Stadium wasn't exactly successful, making just seven first-team appearances following his controversial switch from Stamford Bridge.
Wenger quickly realised that Diarra would be surplus to requirements at Arsenal, though, and allowed the versatile anchorman to link up with Portsmouth, where he continued to ply his trade prior to a switch to the Santiago Bernabeu.
However, the French coach appears to have had a change of heart and is now ready to give his compatriot a second chance to prove himself as an Arsenal player as he aims to add extra cover to his injury-hit squad.
The Gunners' need for another deep-lying midfielder was made apparent during last night's disappointing 2-0 defeat against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, with Mikel Arteta singled out for criticism in that role from some supporters.
Diarra would surely only represent a short-term solution to the problem, but the player's desire to force his way back into the international set-up with France could profit Arsenal were they to take a chance and offer him a deal until the end of the season.
Queens Park Rangers actually came close to securing Diarra's signature on transfer deadline day, but the free agent could still return to the Premier League if Wenger does choose to make an offer.
Diarra's ability to operate at right full-back - another area of weakness following the recent injury to Mathieu Debuchy - could prove to be a decisive factor in the eventual outcome, with a decision set to be taken in the coming days.
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