Arsenal legend Robert Pires believes that the Gunners look 'likely' to win the race for Sami Khedira's signature in January, a player he feels can finally add the aggression and dynamism missing from a technically gifted midfield at the Emirates.
Khedira will be sold by Real Madrid in January if he fails to sign a new contract, with Los Blancos desperate not to lose the World Cup winner for nothing when his current deal expires next summer.
Manchester United, Chelsea and even Liverpool are all weighing up the merits of entering a bidding war for the £10 million-rated midfield maestro, but Pires told The Telegraph he feels Arsene Wenger has to go and sign a player who could be Arsenal's new Patrick Vieira if given the chance.
Pires offers Wenger his advice
The former Arsenal winger remains close to Wenger is a regular feature at London Colney in training sessions with the first-team squad, but that didn't stop Pires telling Wenger to get the Khedira deal signed and sealed as an urgent priority.
Pires said: "He [Wenger] needs a big player in the middle, like Viera, strong, tall, because this position is very important for the balance between attack and defence.
"The quality is there but you need more, maybe [someone] like Yaya Toure in middle. He reminds me of Patrick Vieira, maybe they have an opportuniuty with Khedira. It is likely in the January window.
"He played very well with Germany. My advice is if he can buy Khedira he can be the [new] Vieira, more aggression in the middle. He has a lot of experience. When you play in the middle you need experience, especially when your midfield is young like Arsenal's."
Wage demands remain a sticking point
It's no secret that Wenger is a huge fan of Khedira's and actively pursued a summer deal for the dynamic German star after his terrific World Cup exploits, but massive wage demands exceeding £150,000-a-week saw Arsenal scrap their plans.
Wenger plans to revisit negotiations for a world-class midfielder when the transfer window, but unless a compromise can be found over that salary request Arsenal risk losing out on their top transfer target to Man United.
Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal is ready to keep spending in search of quick success and Khedira fits the bill in terms of pedigree and experience, although there remain question marks over his patchy injury record.
Pires clearly believes its time for Arsenal to take the plunge and add something different in Khedira to their midfield mix, which has definitely been found wanting in terms of physical presence in big matches over the last 18 months.
The ball is now in Wenger's court, is he prepared to make Khedira his fourth German international or have Arsenal missed the boat and allowed United to steal a player they've courted for the best part of four years.
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