A strong front of high pressure transfer rumours is forming above North London with Arsenal reportedly keen on a big money swoop on the Bundesliga for Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan, with Lars Bender of Bayer Leverkusen lined up in case the deal falls through.
Gundogan’s performances in central midfield this term were integral to his side’s progression to the Champions League final, with his innate positional sense and exemplary passing and tackling making him the beating heart of Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Defensive midfield has been an area of uncertainty for the Gunners in recent seasons with Alex Song the last player to lay any kind of claim to the role.
Abou Diaby has often seemed the answer, but Arsene Wenger must face-up to the fact that his fragility means he’ll never be the long term solution in that area of the park.
Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta were both the most defensive member of the Arsenal middle band at times last season, but neither are utilised to best effect in the role.
At just 22 Gundogan would be a significant upgrade for Arteta, with the youngster’s ability to pick out an assist allied to greater defensive capabilities than the ex-Everton man.
A central midfield partnership between the seven-times-capped German international and Wilshere would be the stuff of dreams for beleaguered Gooners.
It may be more likely than not to remain that way, with Arsenal’s lack of silverware or a recent league title challenge hardly making a move to the Emirates that attractive for freshmen members of the European footballing elite.
In addition, with teammate Mario Gotze already sold and Robert Lewandowski’s days at Signal Iduna Park looking numbered it’s unlikely Gundogan’s current employers will be going down on bended knee to make his departure happen.
Leverkusen terrier Bender may be a more realistic acquisition for Wenger, with the 24-year-old not nearly so widely touted as his flavour-of-the-month countryman, thanks to a season in the Europa League.
Whilst his array of talents may be more comprehensively biased towards the defensive end of the spectrum, that would be no bad thing for an Arsenal team that has missed precisely that in recent campaigns.
As it stands Arsenal are 11/1 to lift the Premier League title next season.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.