Arsenal transfer focus - Wenger could look at midfield with Wilshere out until at least October
With a little over a month left until the transfer window slams shut, more incomings and outgoings seem a certainty for Arsenal. Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski have been the only summer signings for Gunners boss Arsene Wenger so far but, with prodigy Jack Wilshere now expected to be out until October at least, an addition to the centre of midfield could prove to be a shrewd move.
If the entirety of Arsenal's midfield were fit, it could be argued that they have ample cover in the centre of the park. Wilshere has looked commanding in his fledgling Gunners career, Alex Song enjoyed a solid campaign last season and Abou Diaby is highly effective when at his best. Meanwhile the trio of Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky and Aaron Ramsey provide creativity and guile, and youngsters Emmanuel Frimpong and Francis Coquelin wait in the wings as cover.
However Wilshere's injury troubles have been almost constant over the past 18 months. Diaby and Rosicky are well-known for succumbing to injury too while Ramsey, currently representing Team GB at London 2012, endured a number of lacklustre performances in the 2011-12 season. Frimpong and Coquelin, though promising, are arguably still too raw to fill first team roles at the Emirates at the moment.
As such, Wenger has been linked with midfield reinforcements. According to the Daily Mail, Celtic's tireless midfielder Victor Wanyama has emerged as a surprise potential arrival in North London. The 21-year-old Kenyan, who helped Celtic to the Scottish Premier League title last year, has vented his frustration at being played in central defence rather than his preferred midfield berth under Bhoys boss Neil Lennon. Celtic are looking to raise around £7m for Wanyama but the Gunners could face competition from Manchester United, Queens Park Rangers and Stoke City.
The Wanyama interest comes as a move for long-term target Yann M'Vila looks increasingly unlikely. The Rennes man was heavily linked with Arsenal earlier in the summer but, speaking before news of Wilshere's latest injury setback broke, Wenger said he backed his current crop of central midfielders over M'Vila - particularly Frenchman Abou Diaby, who has so far emerged unscathed from the Gunners' pre-season exertions.
Wenger told Arsenal's official website: "You can't imagine how happy I am firstly to have him [Diaby] in the squad, because he is an exceptional player. I am cautious but confident because he had two hard weeks and came through it well. He is the first player who would be on the France teamsheet in midfield when he is fit. Laurent Blanc said that before the European Championship and he waited a very long time to know if he could play or not. But he couldn't."
Meanwhile Arsenal look close to completing the £15m transfer of Spanish trickster Santi Cazorla from Malaga, according to the Daily Mail.
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