Arsenal had scouts in attendance at Old Trafford to run the rule over Mohamed Diame in West Ham’s third round replay with Manchester United ahead of making a January move.
The Senegalese midfielder has impressed many this term with his all-action style since his summer switch from Wigan and, with a £3.5m release rumoured to be written into his contract, he definitely ticks the appropriate Arsene Wenger boxes.
Whether the frugal Frenchman can bring himself to spend any amount of money on a man he could’ve signed for free six months ago is another matter entirely, but there’s no question Diame could improve the Gunners.
Abou Diaby stepped into Mikel Arteta’s shoes in their Manchester City defeat, but this was his first appearance since September and he can’t be trusted to play many more games between now and the end of the season.
Spaniard Arteta performs adequately in front of the back four, but he’s more of a technician than a tough tackler as Arsenal keep trying to fit a square peg in the round hole vacated by Alex Song.
This is one of the many reasons why the Gunners have struggled throughout this campaign and, should they fail to address the issue in January, they could well miss out on Champions League football for the first time in 15 years.
Diame is both athletic and not shy of sticking a foot in; he would bring some much-needed tenacity to the Arsenal midfield.
What’s even more important is that he’s demonstrated capability with the ball at his feet during his Premier League career, scoring a few memorable goals along the way, including a great solo effort when the Hammers took on the north Londoners earlier in the season.
Having started in West Ham’s spirited defeat at the hands of the Red Devils, he would be ineligible to feature for Arsenal for the remainder of their FA Cup campaign which, after overcoming Swansea at the Emirates, is priced at 15/2 to end in long-awaited glory.
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