Arsenal have long been linked to the signing of a new defensive midfielder, ever since the departure of Alex Song to Barcelona. Last season, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini played as holding midfielders for the fourth finishing Gunners. This summer, Arsene Wenger looks to improve his holding midfield ranks with a more physically built player.
Although Arteta and Flamini played well throughout the season, they were exposed against teams such as Liverpool, Chelsea, and Manchester City. They simply did not have the build, physicality, and positioning to play against the world’s elite attacking midfielders. There are more than a few defensive midfielders on Wenger’s shortlist, and with transfer talk heating up, expect to see Wenger sign one of his main targets very soon.
The newly crowned world champion has been linked with a move to North London for weeks now. He only furthered speculation by posing with the Arsenal German trio Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker, and Lukas Podolski multiple times in the victory celebrations. Mesut Ozil is a close friend of Khedira’s from their time together at Real Madrid, and he seems to have been trying to bring his compatriot to the Emirates.
Khedira would no doubt bolster the Arsenal defensive midfield. A strong, physically built player, he would hold up very nicely, and his exquisite passing would compete with the likes of Mikel Arteta. However he likes to get forward with his play very much, and is more of a box-to-box midfielder that would be more of an Aaron Ramsey type player. Following Ramsey’s fabulous season, and the ability for Jack Wilshere to play the box-to-box role as well, Khedira may not be the best fit at Arsenal. Khedira is also demanding a massive 150,000 euros a week, which would make him the highest paid player in the team. For these reasons, Wenger seems to have steered away from the Madrid play maker.
Lars Bender was linked to Arsenal last summer with a 19 million pound move to North London; however, the bid was rejected and negotiations halted. This summer, Wenger may be looking to pry away the Leverkusen star again. Bender is a large holding midfielder who has great positioning and intelligence in his defense. There is no doubt that Bender would compliment Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere very nicely, allowing them to parade forward while he holds down the midfield. Wenger has been a long term admirer of the German star, and there have been plenty or rumors linking him to a move to North London, so don’t be too surprised to see Bender in red and white next season.
The 22 year old may be the missing key at Arsenal. He is dubbed the “Portuguese Yaya Toure“, and has impressed at his one year at Sporting CP. He stands at 6’1 and is staggeringly strong. He has the ability to breakup plays and also distribute and start counterattacks. He would also be a signing for the future, as a well as the present. Arsene Wenger is always keen on developing new talent, and Carvalho could be one of the best defensive midfielders in the years to come. He would sit perfectly behind Ramsey or Wilshere, and would provide plenty of cover for the back four. His one disadvantage is his lack of experience.
Being only 22, he does not have the decision making of Bender or Khedira. However, Wenger can easily help Carvalho as he has helped so many young players before him. The player would not come cheaply though. After an outstanding season, it is reported that Sporting rejected a 22 million pound bid for the Portuguese star. Wenger is known for his lack of overspending, but William Carvalho would be the perfect player for Arsenal if he did decide to splash the cash.