Pundits and Arsenal fans are unanimous in the position that Arsenal need to strengthen their midfield by adding a new defensive midfielder to their ranks. Earlier in the summer, former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas became available, but Arsenal passed on the opportunity to re-sign him despite having the buy-back option. The reason given was that there are enough attacking midfielders in Arsenal’s team already. I agree with that, with Ramsey, Wilshere, Cazorla, Chamberlain, Rosicky and Ozil, the Gunners are not in dire need of further reinforcements there but the same cannot be said of the defensive department of the midfield. There, Wenger only has Arteta and Flamini at his disposal, against top teams last season, both men have fallen short as the Gunners were ripped to shreds by their direct title rivals away from home.
This has led to calls for Wenger to add real steel to the Gunners’ brittle midfield. In a bid to do that, many names have been added to the list of likely candidates; Frenchman and Saints midfielder Morgan Schnerderlin, German and Leverkusen ace Lars Bender and Wolfsburg’s Brazilian midfielder Luis Gustavo. If it were another manager, we would have said the possibility of signing two of them is great, but for Wenger, he would only go for just one because the Frenchman doesn’t believe in buying players only to keep them on the bench. With that at the back of my mind, who should Wenger go for from amongst the aforementioned three. In choosing who is the best fit, there are some salient things to consider. The parameters I would be using include financial implication, experience, age, versatility and steel.
According to reports, Southampton wants a fee in the region of 20 million Pounds for the Morgan Schneiderlin . The manner they have dug their heels over the transfer of Shaw and Lallana shows that they won’t let Schnerderlin who is another prized asset leave without a fight and the only fight they can put up is to slap a huge fee on him. The French midfielder is good but for 20 million Pounds, it is a little too steep because he lacks experience at the highest level, Never played in Europe which is a key factor. If Wenger is willing to splash out 20 million Pounds on a defensive midfielder, there are more experienced anchor men he could go for.
Lars Bender is another target. The Leverkusen man was a subject of a 19million Pounds bid from Arsenal last summer but his club rejected it and he in turn sgned a contract extension. Earlier in the summer, he revealed that he was keen to stay at the Bundesliga outfit because he didn’t feel he was ready to make the big step to a top team like Arsenal. The greatest injustice a player can do to himself is to doubt his ability. If Bender feels he is not good enough for Arsenal then Wenger should let him be. The Gunners don’t need a player that would cringe in the club’s colours on the big stage.
The last contender who I believe is the best fit is Brazilian midfielder Luis Gustavo. He might be the most expensive of the trio at 26 million Pounds but for that amount, Arsenal would be landing a versatile player who is at home in many positions; defensive midfield, central defence, left back, left wing and even the box to box midfield position. He already has experience at the biggest stage, having won Champions League with Bayern Munich and a regular in the Brazilian set up. If there is a player that would add real quality and steel to Arsenal’s midfield, it is Gustavo. We need someone that can stand toe to toe with the towering Matic and physical Fernandinho. That man is Gustavo.
In terms of age, there are all long term solutions because they are still quite young. Schneiderlin is 24, Bender is 25, while Gustavo is 26, should Wenger go for any of them, the Gunners’ defensive midfield would be in good hands.
Based on the analysis above, Gustavo is our man, who is yours?