Arsenal are plotting a £14 million move for Lyon defensive midfielder Maxime Gonalons in the summer transfer window, according to reports in Mirror.
The 24 year old is highly rated and has been one of the most consistent performers over the past few seasons for the French club.
The report states that the French international has been the subject of a £14 million bid from Napoli after Rafa Benitez decided he wanted to prise him from Lyon. But that offer was rejected and the road is now clear for the Gunners to move at the end of the season.
It further states that Arsene Wenger has identified Gonalons as his target for the summer transfer window and the Arsenal manager wants to bring the France international midfielder to the Emirates.
Gonalons has been with Lyon since the age of 10 coming through the club’s youth system after joining from local outfit FC Villefranche. His progress was halted as he picked up a staph infection on his ankle, which was at one point deemed career threatening with reportedly future diagnosis of sepsis and amputation. However he gradually got back into playing shape and eventually returned to the youth team.
He signed his first professional contract agreeing to a one year deal with the French club. and made his professional debut on 25 August 2009 in the second leg of the club’s UEFA Champions League playoff round match against Anderlecht appearing as a substitute in the 73rd minute. Two months later in October 2009, Gonalons scored his first goal for Lyon away at Liverpool, helping the French side to a 2-1 win on Merseyside and has since been an integral part of their squad since.
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He stands at 6 ft 2 in and uses his height well in defending set pieces, crosses and also to latch onto free kicks in the attacking third, suggesting he has the natural attributes to succeed in the Premier League. He is confident with the ball at his feet, holds the ball up well and is adept at moving the ball out of the defensive third to start an attack. He is not shy about going into a challenge and is more than willing to play a physical game.
The defensive midfielder could be available on the cheap as his current club Lyon struggle for finances. With an excellent range of passing and ability to break up play, he could provide Arsenal with a younger and more mobile midfield option in the Mathieu Flamini mould.
The Gunners do have an abundance of midfield talent currently, however with Mikel Arteta (31, turning 32 in March) and Flamini (29, turning 30 in March) Wenger may think about the prospect of bringing in a younger alternative for the future this summer. In the meantime the Gunners boss still has ponder the future of combative duo Emmanuel Frimpong and Francis Coquelin and perhaps do some re-shuffling.
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