Arsenal failed to replace Alex Song in that defensive midfield role when he left for Barcelona, but Bayern Munich’s Luis Gustavo can plug that hole perfectly if he switches.
It was supposed to be the summer of big spending by Arsenal, but so far the total yield has been little-known French U21 international Yaya Sanogo from Auxerre, on a free transfer.
Having missed out on top striker targets Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez – now priced at 5/6 to stay at Liverpool by the end of the transfer window and 6/4 to jump ship to the Emirates Stadium – so far, it appears Arsene Wenger has turned his attentions to midfield.
After a season where he was forced to play as understudy to Javi Martinez for Bundesliga and European champions Bayern, Gustavo is angling for a move and his recent comments place the Londoners as the most likely destination.
Gustavo told reporters: “I have heard about the Arsenal interest. It’s a big club we’re talking about here so of course I’d like to play for them.”
The deal being tabled is around the £14m mark which is definitely within the ball-park of Arsenal transfer sums. A further reason to believe this deal can happen is the player’s concerns over getting selected for his country when they host next summer’s World Cup.
“My contract with Bayern runs until 2015 but it is very important that I play first-team football to keep getting called up for Brazil,” he added.
This would represent a fine acquisition for the Gunners who have failed to properly replace the combative figure of Song in that holding midfield area, where instead they’ve relied on Mikel Arteta to play in an unfamiliar role.
As we saw in the recent Confederations Cup where his performances drew high praise from Brazil boss Luiz Felipe Scolari, Gustavo is well equipped to break play up. Meanwhile, his ability on the ball is typically Brazilian and a 93% pass success rate from 16 Bundesliga games last season speaks for itself.
Gooners will remember another Brazilian playing in that role for ‘the invincibles’ with great affection and in Gustavo they could gain a player cut from the same cloth as Gilberto Silva.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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