The prospect of Real Madrid parting with Sami Khedira for anything other than silly money has prompted Arsenal to turn their attentions elsewhere as they look to beef up their midfield.
So, instead of chasing the German World Cup winner, the Gunners will battle Los Blancos to sign the man earmarked to fill Khedira’s boots at the Bernabeu.
Cruzeiro destroyer Lucas Silva is the player they have in mind, with bwin going 1/2 that the Brazilian youngster decorates the dotted line of a Premier League club’s contract offer by the end of next summer’s transfer window.
The 21-year-old is valued at around £10m by the table-topping Brasileirao outfit, for whom he has been an integral figure this campaign.
In 26 Brazilian top-flight appearances, as well as three more in the Copa Libertadores, Silva has scored one goal and assisted one, though this area is not where his strengths lie.
Stellar statistics in the defensive and passing departments is what makes the Toulon tournament winner such an attractive proposition to Europe’s overfed felines.
In screening the Cruzeiro backline, Silva averages 2.1 tackles per appearance, as well as 1.2 interceptions, yet his commitment to preventing goals hasn’t come at the expense of substandard skills in possession.
Each outing typically sees Silva shift the orb on over 49 instances, with a laudable 88 per cent of these finding their intended target, while an especially high attempted long ball mean of 4.5 is testament to his excellent passing range.
Despite his deep deployment, the Brazilian isn’t averse to firing shots from distance either, chipping in with an average of 1.1 attempts per game.
Something of an all-rounder, the fledgling superstar typifies the breed of holding-midfielder frugal Frenchman Arsene Wenger prefers.
His insistence that Mikel Arteta is sufficient in this role suggests that passing prowess supersedes all else, but, unlike the Spaniard, Silva’s game encompasses excellent defensive ability too, while he’s also equipped with the physical attributes the north Londoners crave.