Gung ho Arsenal pinpoint Barcelona hero as holding-midfield fix

These are alien times for Arsenal fans. So used to their manager’s frugality and blind denial of the side’s obvious needs, all of a sudden Arsene Wenger is treating them to regular spending sprees and a wise recruitment strategy.

After £10m solved the north Londoners’ problem between the sticks in the shape of Petr Cech, there is a rumoured £200m more for the Frenchman to invest into a Premier League title bid, currently rated at 9/2 by Ladbrokes.

Karim Benzema has been the poster boy of the Gunners’ rumoured splurge and while a new, world-class striker is a definite requirement for the Emirates outfit this summer, the latest name linked with a switch to the capital is both more exciting and unlikely in equal measure.

The Daily Express have carried a line from Spanish newspaper Sport that suggests Sergio Busquets could arrive to end the long-running calls for a holding midfielder of repute to protect Wenger’s defence.

A decorated member of both Barcelona and Spain’s golden era, the 27-year-old would certainly satisfy Arsenal’s need for a defensively-minded marauder, having honed his skills across 212 appearances in the role for the Catalonia club.

However, it’s extremely difficult to see the Blaugrana’s boss, Luis Enrique, parting ways with the La Masia product so soon after losing another cog in his influential engine room this summer.

Xavi’s departure to Qatari club Al Sadd may not seem like a pivotal one considering the 35-year-old only made 19 La Liga starts under Enrique last term, but the winding down of the veteran’s career at the Nou Camp coincided with Busquets’ increased importance to the cause.

It’s likely that Arsenal would have to use close to half of their reported war chest on the Spanish screener just to get Barcelona to take them seriously. Even then they would have to convince the player to leave his guaranteed spot in a perennial trophy winner, for a side that hasn’t won their league for 11 years.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.