It's widely believed that Arsenal are interested in securing the signing of Everton's talisman, Marouane Fellaini, once the deal for Gonzalo Higuain has been completed.
Arsenal are reportedly willing to meet Fellaini's buy-out clause, which is somewhere in the region of £23 million. Although it's yet unclear if they will try to negotiate a lower fee, or how much competition they will face, with Manchester United also keeping an eye on the Belgian International.
Ray Parlour, a former Arsenal defensive midfielder, believes Fellaini would be an ideal fit to fill the void that Patrick Vieira left, telling Goal.com: “It's not just his threat from set plays, we all know about Arsenal sometimes conceding easy goals from corners but it's one of those situations where you need people to defend those, he would be an addition to that and he can also score goals.”
"But Vieira was a very good leader for the club after Tony Adams. That was always going to be the big question, who could lead the club forward? Patrick certainly did a good job as skipper.”
"So maybe that is an area that they will strengthen. We tried [Abou] Diaby but he got injured on regular occasions and [Alex] Song was there for a while but he has moved on.
"That is the position they need to have a look at. [Mikel] Arteta did a great job last year but he's getting that little bit older so I'm sure Wenger will be targeting players in that area."
However, although Parlour has admitted this is an area in need of immediate improvement, he sympathises with Wenger over the fact that there is a lack of quality available in this department at present, and believes that finding the right personnel has been made far from easy.
"The problem is finding that sort of player," he added. "Who is available? A lot of players are tied down to big contracts now and you can't get those sort of players, they're very hard to find.
"Vieira’s for £3.5m, they don't come around very often these days so the hardest thing is getting the right personnel in.
"They've got great players there in the likes of [Jack] Wilshere and [Santi] Cazorla but it's getting the right blend as a team, the real question is can you get a few people working hard in midfield for Cazorla to show his talents going forward.
"I was probably one of those sort of players for Arsenal, I worked hard, won the ball back and gave it to the likes of [Dennis] Bergkamp and [Robert] Pires who could really hurt the back four.
"It's about that blend; you can't have all attacking players and you can't have all defensive players so that's what Arsene Wenger has got to work out."
There’s no doubt that Arsenal’s defensive frailties have been their most prominent Achilles heel for some time now, and with the back-four looking like it has improved somewhat, the main area in need of attention is in front of the defenders.
A real defensive midfielder would remove the pressure on the centre-backs, creating a more well-rounded defensive unit, while simultaneously freeing up the likes of Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla, to take on more attacking roles.
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