Arsenal outgoings have become the club’s most notable activity in this summer’s transfer window, and Arsene Wenger is keen to rectify that before 11pm tonight.
As such, the Gunners chief is lining up a shock loan swoop for Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien, who has fallen down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge.
Wenger is desperate to bolster his defensive midfield options, with Jack Wilshere still injured, and Alex Song’s recent departure leaving the Emirates outfit short on cover in that area.
And Essien could prove an ideal candidate to fill the void, with his boss Roberto Di Matteo thought to be willing to sanction the Ghanaian’s exit on a temporary basis.
It is unclear whether Essien would be allowed to join one of Chelsea’s top four rivals, but the Blues did allow Yossi Benayoun to link up with the Gunners last term.
Essien was touted as one of the world’s finest midfielders as recently as two years ago, but a series of injuries went some way to tarnishing the energetic powerhouse’s reputation.
Now aiming to rediscover the form that has won him such acclaim in the past, the 29-year-old would likely welcome the opportunity to play first-team football more regularly.
With no transfer fee necessary too, Essien would appear a highly viable option for Wenger, and a season-long loan deal would seem to make sense for all involved.
That said, Essien is not the only transfer target Wenger is paying attention to on deadline day.
An interest in Montpellier captain Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa remains, and it will likely be a case of one or the other between he and Essien, with the Chelsea player taking preference.
The Gunners are also thought to be keen to secure a late deal for a striker, and Athletic Bilbao forward Fernando Llorente looks the most likely option.
Arsenal will face stiff competition for his signature though, and would likely prefer a midfield addition over an attacking one, should they be forced to prioritise.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.