Arsenal are considering as many as five midfielders – including three international stars – as Arsene Wenger hunts to cover for the injured Francis Coquelin, reports the Daily Mail.
The Gunners boss infuriated fans after deciding against signing an outfield player in the summer transfer window when many had been led to believe a defensive midfielder would be brought in as a priority.
To add insult to injury, Arsenal appeared to be leading the race to sign Morgan Schneiderlin from Southampton, only for Wenger to decide against a rival bid when Manchester United came calling.
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Now the inevitable has happened. Coquelin is facing several months out and the cover looks less than convincing. Wenger believed both Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini had what it took to fill in any void left in midfield, but they have looked noticeably off-pace for much of the current campaign.
But prior to the emergence of Coquelin, Wenger had scouts flying all over Europe in search of a man to finally replace the long-departed Gilberto Silva.
The above report states that there are extensive dossiers on a number of defensive midfielders from Europe's best clubs currently gathering dust in Wenger's filing cabinet at London Colney. Now the Frenchman is ready to delve into them once more.
If Arsenal are to sustain a Premier League title challenge they will need more than Flamini or Arteta in their midfield and Wenger knows that. That is why he is now considering his options with some familiar names coming back to the fore.
Lars Bender of Bayer Leverkusen and Sporting Lisbon's William Carvalho are two who have noticeably impressed Arsenal scouts in the past and are Wenger's top choices for the January transfer window. Meanwhile, Sevilla powerhouse Grzegorz Krychowiak has been named as a potential alternative.
Making up a shortlist of five is Vincent Koziello, a promising 20-year-old from Nice, and his 23-year-old team-mate Nampalys Mendy. They are both without international experience but are established members of Les Bleus at youth level.