With Alexis Sanchez locked in at Arsenal, it's time to get to solving the other weaknesses in the current team. One of these, of course, is in the holding midfielder/defensive midfielder position. While Mikel Arteta has been more than reliable there since arriving at Arsenal, he's also not getting any younger, and it's probably about time to make sure his replacement is in line. Hence, Arsene Wenger appears to be pursuing every single competent holding midfielder in the world.
We've already talked about rumors surrounding Sami Khedira and Lars Bender, from the Guardian and Mirror respectively. Now Jeremy Wilson of the Telegraph is also reporting that Arsenal have inquired after Khedira and Bender. According to Wilson, Khedira would cost over £20 million, even though he's about to enter the final year of his contract. Bender, on the other hand, has several years left on a relatively new contract, but will still likely be cheaper than Khedira. Bender didn't make the German World Cup team after a thigh injury and Khedira has played well in Brazil, so that's likely part of the reason why.
Stan Collymore is intrigued.
Spoke to agent. Arsenal in advanced talks with Sami Khedira. Fuck me, they're getting serious.
— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) July 11, 2014
Philippe Auclair, what have you heard about Herr Khedira?
@daniellandau27 Yes, quite a lot in fact. Looks serious.
— Philippe Auclair (@PhilippeAuclair) July 12, 2014
So! That might be a thing. Of course, it's also possible that this is coming from the Khedira camp itself, as contract negotiations continue with Real Madrid, so it might be less of a thing than it sounds. There's been a lot more...diverse noise around Khedira than there was around Sanchez. Since Khedira is the least DM-y of the options currently being presented, it's not ridiculous. But he's also quite a good player, so actually making the purchase would also not be ridiculous. It's kind of a win-win.
Another long-rumored target is Southampton and France's Morgan Schneiderlin. But, sadly, the Express seems to think that Tottenham Hotspur are "SURGING AHEAD" in the race to sign him. Allegedly they're already discussing contract details, with a mutual affection between the player and new Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino (the managerial equivalent to Phil Kessel) fueling the move so far.
You'll remember our old friend Dean. As usual, I share his musings with the caveat that he's not a real reporter or anything, just a guy on Twitter who seems to have some kind of connections in the club, or something. But still, he seems to think we're in for Schneiderlin, and he's been right often before, so there might be more there than it looks at the moment.
One way or the other, I'd say it looks like the search for a new defensive midfielder is going pretty well. We'll see if it ends well.