Now that Mario Goetze has effectively been taken off the table, thanks to his putting pen to paper with Borussia Dortmund in a deal that will tie him down until 2016, it’s time for Arsenal to start looking at more realistic targets. I’m not sure spending £30m on a 19-year-old untested outside of the Bundesliga was ever a really good idea. So who else could the Gunners look to bring in?
One of the best and most talked about candidates is Rennes’ defensive rock Yann M’Vila. According to The Telegraph and plenty of other sources, M’Vila has been watched by Arsenal scouts and Arsene Wenger is ready to make a move when the summer transfer window re-opens.
The belief is that the Gunners were chasing the 21-year-old last summer but were told that he was not for sale at any price. Rennes appear to have changed their policy in this regard as it now seems that they’re resigned to losing him. A price-tag of £17m has been banded about and at that price, you can’t help but feel that he’d be a bargain.
He has a unique blend of craft and strength that has helped him stand out at both club and International level (he has 18 French caps despite his young age). He’s athletic, tough and impossible to bully. I’d associate him with the likes of Nigel de Jong and Yaya Toure for his ability to provide a team with a defensive backbone without compromising their offensive capacity.
Some may claim that Arsenal don’t need another defensive midfielder, but I’m not sure this is the case. Alex Song has excelled this season, but he still makes mistakes and has the odd bad performance. By providing him with a little competition, Wenger will prevent complacency creeping into Song’s game. What’s more, imagine how much easier it will be for Arsenal to see out a game if they have both Song and Yann M’Vila in their midfield.
Whilst that may seem like an all too defensive set-up, I don’t think it would come at the expense of the Gunner’s creativity. M’Vila can knock the ball around and Song has excelled by adding the lofted through ball to his repertoire this season.
It’s worth bearing in mind that he’ll feature for France in Euro 2012 and that any decent performances could drive up his price-tag significantly. If Arsenal’s interest is genuine, let’s hope that they act quickly, avoid the mistakes of last summer and get their man at a fair price.
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