The Daily Telegraph reports that Arsene Wenger is looking to add one more player to his Arsenal squad this summer.
After splashing £60m and heaping an alleged £15m onto the wage bill thus far, it’s unlikely that the Frenchman will have carte blanche with the chequebook, but he does have the full £15m raised from the sale of Thomas Vermaelen at his disposal.
Versatility is the attribute the Gunners’ boss craves the most and has three targets in mind: Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho, Luiz Gustavo of Wolfsburg and German World Cup winner Benedikt Howedes.
There’s also plenty of speculation linking the Community Shield holders with a move for Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels too.
He may be the superior centre-half when measured up against the third name thought to be on Wenger’s wishlist, but the Arsenal boss is right to favour the Schalke skipper over his more illustrious countryman as his side go about realising odds of 2/1 to be the Premier League’s top London club.
Howedes wouldn’t cost anywhere near as much as Hummels.
Jurgen Klopp is adamant that the lynchpin of his backline will not be sold.
Obviously, an outrageous offer would probably restructure his thought process, but it’s certainly going to need to be more than £30m.
For a significantly decreased price they can sign a player who played every minute of Germany’s victorious World Cup campaign, amassing similar stats to the man in question during the competition.
Howedes made 2.4 tackles per match on average in response to Hummels’ 2.7, four clearances to his 4.8 and completed 83.9 per cent of his passes in response to his Schwarzgelben compatriot’s 87.5.
As far as versatility goes, there’s no debating who’s the boss.
Not only did Howedes participate in every second for die Mannschaft in Brazil, he did so playing out of position.
Being deployed at left-back was a concept the Gelsenkirchen hero was unfamiliar with prior to his stint in the land of samba, but he played the part with aplomb.
Hummels, on the other hand, can only be stationed in the heart of defence on account of his lack of mobility.
The potential arrival of Howedes wouldn’t have to impinge on the Per Mertesacker/Laurent Koscielny love-in.
Clearly, Wenger has no interest in dividing his first-choice centre-back pairing, but if he were to draft in Hummels, he’d have to.
Howedes’ ability to play on the left of defence means no tampering would be necessary, while he’s also more likely to accept a rotating role in the squad than his more laudable compatriot.