Not for the first time and undoubtedly not for the last, reports have surfaced insinuating Arsenal are ready to test Southampton’s resolve for midfield lynchpin Morgan Schneiderlin.
A bid of around £15m is allegedly being prepared for the French puppet master, but with Saints almost certain to reject the Gunners’ opening gambit, something closer to the £20m mark, if not higher, will be required to convince Ronald Koeman and co to do business.
In light of these developments, bwin have opened the book on which club Schneiderlin will represent come September 2nd 2015, with Arsenal priced up at 6/1, the shortest price of all potential Premier League suitors.
A flimsy 3/10 says the Strasbourg academy alumnus is still on the St Mary’s roster by the time the date in question passes, with 5/1 on offer for those who are convinced he signs for any club based beyond Blighty shores.
With Tottenham next at 14/1, it appears that if any English outfit is going to snare Schneiderlin, it’ll be Arsenal, but making such a move would be incredibly foolish on the north Londoners’ behalf.
A holding-midfielder is what the Emirates outfit crave and there is no debating that the 25-year-old they’re allegedly tracking is a classy practitioner, but the reality is he’s little more than an upgrade on incumbent Mikel Arteta.
The Spaniard is, at best, a makeshift anchorman who doesn’t have an aggressive bone in his frequently injured body.
Arsenal’s lack of an enforcer in midfield has been a huge problem of theirs for several seasons and it is the chief factor behind their constant crumbling against fellow fat cat foes.
The Gunners’ skipper is very able in possession, but as far as striking fear into opponents goes, he ranks lower on the scale than an ant doing the limbo.
Schneiderlin rarely misses his mark with a pass (his completion rate currently stands at 89.5 per cent from an average of 67.9 balls played per game) but, more importantly, he isn’t going to give any adversaries pre-match nightmares either.
The funds would be better invested in an all-action, rough-housing midfielder such as Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho, whose physical presence would perfectly compliment the supreme technicality of the current crop of Arsenal middle men.