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Analyzing Arsenal’s midfield options in the transfer market

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Arsenal is widely considered to be looking into adding multiple players during the upcoming summer transfer period.  While in years past the Gunners have tried to add squad depth, this year’s Arsenal team will most likely not sign five or six players, but only two or three top quality stars.

One particular position that the north London club will certainly look to strengthen is in the defensive midfield.  Francis Coquelin had an unimaginable breakout season for the Gunners in the middle of the pitch this past campaign.  The 24-year-old Frenchman seemed almost sure to leave the Gunners at the end of the season, however, the one-time outcast turned into one of the most reliable players in the team when he was given a chance to play regularly starting in December.

Although Coquelin is a solid option to have anchoring the club’s midfield, manager Arsene Wenger should do his best to sign a proven midfield star to help relieve some of the pressure on Coquelin.  There are currently three names that continue to surface and be rumored targets of Wenger.  While any of the three players listed below would be fantastic additions to the club, let’s take a look at each player and the likelihood of them becoming a Gunner this summer.

Geoffrey Kondogbia

Recent reports have suggested that Arsenal brass have launched an £18.2 million bid for Monaco’s Kondogbia.  Although it remains to be seen if these rumors are true, the tough-tackling France international would be a tremendous addition (especially at that price) to the Arsenal team.

Wenger has had plenty of opportunities to see the 22-year-old defensive midfielder in action over the past year, as Monaco have played the Gunners twice during Champions League play and once in the pre-season Emirates Cup tournament.

Kondogbia, the most defensive-minded of the trio, is a quintessential defensive midfielder.  The Frenchman is big, strong, yet agile, and can dribble past opposing players.  Kondogbia can pick out adequate passes as well.

Morgan Schneiderlin

Schneiderlin has been linked with a switch to the Gunners for about a year now.  As the Frenchman relished another season with Southampton, Schneiderlin recently declared his wishes for Champions League soccer.  The 25-year-old told RMC, “Yes, I think my decision is made.  I learned a lot last season.  The goal is to stay in England.  If I leave Southampton, it is for a club that plays better than the Europa League.”

“There are ongoing discussions but nothing is done.  But of course the Champions League is my goal.  If I leave Southampton it will be for a club in the Champions League.”

The France international possesses as good mix of tackling abilities, dribbling, and can also supply a good long ball to his teammates.  Schneiderlin can also score the occasional goal too, as he hit the back of the net four times in 26 Premier League matches.

Although Arsenal were once thought to be clear-cut favorites to sign the Southampton player, Manchester United have emerged as a possible destination for Schneiderlin as well.  The Saints are set to make an extremely large profit on the player, as they paid Strasbourg around £1 million for Schneiderlin in 2008, and will likely receive a fee of around £25 million for the budding star.

Arturo Vidal

Probably the least likely to happen out of the three mentioned players, Vidal would be an immense addition to practically any club in the world.  The world-class player does a bit of everything in the midfield.  Vidal is tenacious in his tackling, has unlimited stamina, and can also create chances and score goals as well (18 total goals in the 2013/14 season and eight this past campaign).

One thing that may help the Gunners get Vidal is the fact that he is close with fellow Chile international and Arsenal superstar, Alexis Sanchez.  Nonetheless, it would seem highly unlikely for Juventus to sell Vidal this summer if in fact they let go of Paul Pogba as well.

Rumors have floated around over the past few weeks about a possible deal between Juventus and Arsenal, but nothing has come to fruition as of yet.  Wenger has claimed that he is not interested in bringing in Vidal, although most have learned to not play poker with Arsene.  The Arsenal manager once claimed to not know who Santi Cazorla was and then proceeded to buy the player within a few weeks.

Whether Arsenal purchases one of the aforementioned players or someone else, the Gunners should certainly look for more quality than quantity this summer.

 

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