According to Sky Sports, Arsenal target Morgan Schneiderlin has put in a transfer request after Southampton chairman claimed him and fellow key player Jay Rodriquez were not for sale. While the Frenchman’s return to Southampton was not to his liking, he is said to be keen to finish his negotiations with rival Tottenham, instead of Arsenal.
The biggest weak point in Arsenal’s lineup is Mikel Arteta in the defensive midfield role. Arteta is not a natural at the position and was just a stop gap while Arsenal looked for a more suitable player. When Morgan Schneiderlin’s season as a Hammer ended, Wenger had him high on his radar, as Arsenal was interested in the Frenchman, even before his move to Southampton in 2008. Schneiderlin is a young midfielder that is not scared to throw himself into a tough challenge and do all the dirty work, and whose price would not be as costly as someone like Sami Khedira.
When Schneiderlin first hit the transfer market, the rumors between him and Arsenal were strong, but Arsenal were then largely in the hunt for Real Madrid cast away, Sami Khedira. The Khedira negotiations were halted though, after his high demands for a wage of 200,000 a week.
Eyes again were turned to Schneiderlin, although he is open about his interest in reuniting with his former manager Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham. Whether Schneiderlin stays at Southampton or moves to Tottenham, Arsenal seem all but out of the race for the budding 24 year old. This will cause Arsene Wenger to make an important decision about what to do with the role.
When Luis Gustavo slipped out of his fingers last season, Wenger was forced to use Arteta and Mathieu Flamini in the role. While the two performed admirably, the club fell short of the League Championship, partly due to the lack of a commanding player in the defensive midfield. There has been some talk of Wenger trying Jack Wilshere there, who is currently looking for his place in the starting squad.
Wilshere, although having a smaller stature, is an aggressive player who isn’t scared of a crunching tackle. Wilshere also has the willingness to pull the trigger and string together a visionary passing attack, a creative skill that Flamini and Arteta both lack.
Besides Wilshere, Arteta, and Schneiderlin, their only other visible options are to open up re-negations with Khedira, or look to raw talent. Arsenal has the reputation of giving young players a chance, and Arsene Wenger could look to the ranks of rawer, younger players to build and mold for the void.
While it is hard to imagine the Arsenal boss to shell out anything close to what Khedira is asking, it is easy to see that he is the most obvious choice to come in immediately and command the role. Realistically though, the chance of Khedira and Schneiderlin becoming Gunners seem slim, so be prepared to see a familiar face playing the position for the upcoming season.