Arsenal could be forced into an emergency dip into the transfer market with the news Mikel Arteta will be out of action until after the international break.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was already on the lookout to add a strong defensive midfielder to his ranks but with the Spaniard set to miss two weeks of action after injuring his ankle in the Gunners’ 0-0 draw with Besiktas, the Frenchman is suddenly short of options in the middle of the park.
And with Aaron Ramsey suspended for the return fixture after picking up two yellow cards in the first leg of the Champions league play-off clash, Le Professeur may have to act faster than first anticipated.
The north London club have constantly been linked with moves for Real Madrid star Sami Khedira and Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho but with no sign of a deal for either player the Gunners are reported to have switch their sights elsewhere.
And with Arsenal’s final transfer dealings linked to whether they qualify for the Champions League group stages, Wenger – in true Wenger style – could have set his sights on a much cheaper option much closer to home.
Arsenal have already raided Newcastle for the services for full-back Mathieu Debuchy but could be about to head back to St James’ Park with a bid for midfield hardman Cheick Tiote.
Wenger is looking to add some steel to the FA Cup winner’s array of creative midfielders and the Ivory Coast international certainly fits the bill.
The 28-year-old is looking to end his four-year stay on Tyneside in order to land a move to a Champions League club and Wenger’s hand may be forced slightly with news coming from Russia that Lokomotiv Moscow have already made a bid.
If Arsenal, who are 11/2 to win the Premier League, are interested in bringing the former FC Twente star to the Emirates they will have to be quick to fend off the advances of the cash-rich Russian club.
And while fans will be slightly despondent about the move for Tiote there is no doubting his ability to add some bite to a Gunners midfield that has been accused of lacking strength at times in recent seasons.