After skirting over the issue of deep midfield for far too long, news that Mathieu Flamini is on the verge of joining the Premier League exodus to Turkey might finally be the catalyst for Arsenal to sign a new anchorman.
The 31-year-old Frenchman has made 50 Premier League appearances since re-signing for the Gunners two summers ago, but reports indicate a deal has been agreed with Galatasaray for Flamini, leaving just first-choice Francis Coquelin and 33-year-old Mikel Arteta in the senior holding-midfield ranks.
Arsene Wenger may prefer digging up diamonds to buying them, but going into the next campaign with a potential one-season wonder (Coquelin, who lest we forget was on loan at Charlton seven months ago), a fading force (Arteta), and teenagers Gedion Zelalem and Krystian Bielik to fill such a pivotal role would be a big risk.
Should Coquelin become injured or lose form, it’s easy to imagine Jack Wilshire being forced to plug the gap, despite the England’s man’s fine forward exploits in the latter weeks of last season suggesting pretty forcibly that he’s just not defensive minded.
Portuguese bull William Carvalho has long been linked with a move to the Premier League, with the Emirates often touted as the Sporting Lisbon star’s likely destination, but a fractured tibia seems to have scuppered any move for the 23-year-old this summer.
However, another oft-trailed Arsenal midfield target may have just become completely surplus to requirements at his current club.
Benjamin Stambouli’s shock move from Tottenham to Paris Saint-Germain must mean the end of Adrien Rabiot’s five-year stint with the Ligue 1 champions, as his agent/mother has been attempting to engineer a switch for some time.
After making 25 appearances in the French top flight under Laurent Blanc in 2013/14, almost half of them starts, Rabiot and son made plenty of noise about trying to leave Paris last summer.
The 20-year-old was involved in four fewer Ligue 1 fixtures last term, and looks set to be further marginalised at the Parc des Princes following Stambouli’s signing, with the likes of Thiago Motta and Blaise Matuidi already blocking Rabiot’s route to the first team.
With bags of experience in his locker, including Champions League knockout stages appearances against Chelsea and Barcelona last season, Rabiot ranks as a decent option for an Arsenal side that has yet to conclusively shake off their ‘soft-centre’ tag.