We all expected Arsenal to sign a defensive midfielder this summer, but I was as surprised as anybody when I heard the name of a certain Spaniard pop up who is currently plying his trade in Bavaria.
Javi Martinez came known to most people during the 2011-12 campaign at Athletic Bilbao, as the Basque side reached the final of the UEFA Europa league. If you did not hear of him then, you would have following his transfer to the German giants at a cost of €40 million (£31.6m).
In recent days he has been linked to Arsenal, and make no mistake, this transfer would be massive. Bleacher Report writer James McNicholas has even gone as far to say that the potential deal would be as big as the signing of Mesut Ozil. The Spaniard seems intent on leaving in the summer, and early reports speculated that Arsenal were prepared to bid £20 million and that we were the only club interested.
Unfortunately however, according to The Daily Mail, Barcelona are also interested in the deal. With Carles Puyol retiring, Barcelona see him as a good option to bring in to strengthen the back and add more depth to their midfield. Most crucially however, they’re prepared to meet Bayern Munich’s valuation of the player – believed to be around £30 million pounds. We can compete with those figures, but cannot afford to spend that kind of money lightly.
With Lars Bender recently admitting he wishes to stay at Leverkusen, this appears to be a major blow to our summer plans. However, not all is lost. The same site reports that Arsenal are going to scout Frenchman Morgan Schneiderlin during Southampton’s last game vs Manchester United. Wenger is apparently considering a £15 million bid to bring the Frenchmen to the Emirates next year.
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Schneiderlin is a fantastic player and boasts premier league experience, something Martinez and Bender cannot. However, he may prove just as hard to lure to Arsenal, as the likes of Shaw, Lovren and Lallana are also being linked with moves away from the club, so they will want to do their best to keep every player they can!
So Gooners, how do you all feel about today’s rumours? Could Schneiderlin fill the defensive midfield role, or should Wenger be looking to the Bundesliga in order to solve our problem?