5 possible holding midfield targets for Arsenal
One position Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger is desperate to upgrade this summer is the defensive midfield.
Currently with Mikel Arteta playing in that position, Arsenal have not had the strongest protection of their back four. This was exposed when they conceded 17 goals in their three away matches versus the top three last season – Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea.
Wenger has already upgraded his attack with the signing of Alexis Sánchez from Barcelona. He is looking to bring Mathieu Debuchy in from Newcastle United to replace Bacary Sagna at right-back. The number one priority between now and the start of the season must be a holding midfielder.
Should Arsenal sign a top player in this position, expect their odds to drop a little from the 7.6 they currently are with Betfair.
Here are 5 holding midfielders Arsenal have been linked to this summer:
Sami Khedira (Real Madrid)
One minute Sami Khedira is going to Arsenal. The next he is not. Then Chelsea are going to hijack the deal. Wage demands from the 2014 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Champions League winner are reportedly out of Arsenal’s current structure which could be prevent a deal from happening.
Real Madrid have just purchased Toni Kroos and Khedira has reportedly rejected a two-year contract offer with his current deal set to expire in 12 months. If true, you could expect Madrid to cash in on their player this summer. With Germany teammates Mesut Özil, Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker already at the Emirates Stadium, it may only be a matter of matching his wages to bring in a top class centre midfielder this summer.
Lars Bender (Bayer 04 Leverkusen)
The brother of Borussia Dortmund’s Sven Bender, Arsenal have been on the trail of Lars Bender for some time now. With Bayern Munich very unlikely to want to sign him and no one else likely to challenge the defending champions for the 2014-15 title, Arsenal may have a good chance of bringing the German international to the Emirates Stadium.
One of the several young talents in Germany at the moment, Bender is 25-years old and has 11 caps for the national team, as well as scoring four times for them. Gets stuck in and plays a simple passing game.
Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton)
Arsène Wenger reportedly likes what he sees in Southampton’s holding midfielder who has had two good seasons in the Premier League. Morgan Schneiderlin was a late call-up to Didier Deschamps’ France World Cup squad this summer.
Southampton may be unwilling to sell after already cashing in on Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert this summer, as well as losing their manager to Tottenham Hotspur. The 24-year old has been excellent for winning back possession for the Saints during his two years in the Premier League and is good in the air too which is always handing for a player in front of the back four.
Nigel de Jong (AC Milan)
The former Manchester City holding midfielder has been linked with more than one Premier League club this summer. Now 29-years old, Nigel de Jong could still do a great job in the defensive midfield role for Arsène Wenger’s side.
The Dutch midfielder is strong in the tackle which means he could add a bit of steal to this Arsenal team that has been missing for the past couple of seasons. Experienced and a winner and AC Milan reportedly needing to sell players this summer makes de Jong an attractive purchase for Arsenal.
Alex Song (Barcelona)
There have been lots of ins and outs for Spanish giants Barcelona this summer, but one yet to leave is former Arsenal player Alex Song. He has been linked back to the Premier League though.
One would have to consider this a last ditch signing from Wenger though as Alex Song’s defensive abilities are questionable. Was a surprise signing by the Catalans when he left the Emirates Stadium but Wenger must believe he can find a better prospects out there.