Arsene Wenger is looking to increase the strength of his midfield by targeting an experienced Premier League ball-winner in the summer transfer window.
According to the Daily Express Morgan Schneiderlin of Southampton and Cheick Tiote of struggling Newcastle United are the two players he is interested in at the moment, with both men having seen themselves strongly linked with moves away from their respective clubs.
Strengthening the midfield
Having all but assured the arrival of Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista Wenger is now looking at solidifying other positions, and though the acquisition of another centre-back is thought to be high on his list of priorities, he cannot escape the fact that Arsenal look relatively weak in the middle of the park.
So far this term Aaron Ramsey has looked a shadow of the player who set pulses racing last campaign, and the likes of Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere have been plagued with injuries.
Wenger’s crisis has even ensured the return of outcast Francis Coquelin to the first-team fold, and though his homecoming after tame stints at both SC Freiburg and Charlton appears to have been one of success, he’s still not ready to patrol the middle of the park as a senior player.
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One of two
That’s where either Schneiderlin or Tiote would likely slot in. One of the pair sitting in front of a shaky back four and offering an assured presence in the manner of Patrick Vieira is what Wenger will no doubt have in mind, though both men will command a handsome fee.
Firstly there’s Schneiderlin, who caused quite the fuss in trying to force a departure from the St. Mary’s Stadium last summer, only to be told he couldn’t following the departures of Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren.
This time around Ronald Koeman’s stance might not be so rigid given that the Saints would be able to find a suitably matched replacement if they can clinch Champions League football, but even so a bid of at least £20 million would have to be tabled.
As for Tiote the pursuit could be more straight forward depending on how the season finishes. At the moment Newcastle look destined for a relegation battle, and so could be forced to relinquish their best players for cut-price fees if they do go down. The 28-year-old is rumoured to be worth £9 million.