Rumours linking Arsenal with Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro seem somewhat wide of the mark, with the Gunners clearly in need of more bite than guile in deep-lying central positions.
The former Sao Paolo prodigy has earned decent reports in his nine La Liga substitute appearances for Los Blancos thus far, but – with a success rate in duels of just 39% and only one defensive action per game on average – the 22-year-old seems an unlikely sort to fill an ‘anchorman’ role.
The Gunners – who are 2/5 favourites to beat West Ham at the Emirates – would be better off taking another look at these three talents:
Arsenal have been repeatedly linked with Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin this season, but they may be missing a trick.
Wanyama starred alongside Schneiderlin at the start of the campaign as the Saints defied expectations in losing just two of their first 14 matches, but he’s lost his place in the side to Jack Cork after a miserable time with injuries since December.
The 6ft 2in Kenyan, who has an 81 per cent pass completion rate in the Premier League yet still manages four defensive actions per game on average, may well be gettable this summer if he continues to be frozen out of the first team at St Mary’s.
The Gunners’ scouting department have been working overtime preparing dossiers on this Bayer Leverkusen spoiler, who was reportedly the subject of a failed £19m Arsenal bid last summer.
It may take a great deal more than that amount to prise Bender from Bayer’s grasp, after the 24-year-old signed a new contract in October that ties him to the club until 2019.
Nevertheless, rumours continue to abound that the north Londoners will try again for a player who’s weighed in with four defensive actions per game, plus two goals and an assist, in the Bundesliga this term.
As was reported on these pages not so long ago, Lyon captain Gonalons has turned heads this season with his cracking all-round play.
The six-cap Les Bleus man has, in his 31 Ligue 1 appearances so far, created 21 chances, averaged four defensive actions per game and found his man with 87 per cent of his passes.
With no Champions League football on offer at the Stade de Gerland next term, Arsenal would like their odds of landing the six-footer, should they rebook their place at the continent’s top table at 7/10.