Now a French international, Morgan Schneiderlin joined Southampton in 2008 when they were a Championship side. He’s been with them down to League One and back up to the Premier League, where he has become a star. It’s rare to see a player come up through the divisions with a club like that, but watching Schneiderlin play, one has to wonder what on earth he was doing in League One in the first place. Good on the ball and a rock at the back, he is just the player Arsenal fans have been clamouring for for years. The Gunners haven’t had a presence like his in midfield since Gilberto Silva’s departure in 2008. If Francis Coquelin has managed to stabilise the Londoners’, imagine what a player of Schneiderlin’s calibre would bring to the club.
ENHANCED ODDS: 10/1 on Arsenal, City and United to win in CASH
While it’s the other Bender twin, Lars, who has been in Arsenal’s radar, Sven is the type of player that the Gunners really need. Although his brother’s attacking instincts perfectly suit the type of game that Arsene Wenger’s side like to play, Arsenal are already overcrowded in that department. Lars would have to compete against Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and even Santi Cazorla, who has found joy playing from deep. Sven, on the other hand, is the more orthodox defensive midfielder Wenger should be looking at to bolster the side. His strength comes from breaking up play and while he may not have the attacking verve usually associated with Wengerball, he is still very tidy on the ball. The only issue would be his injury record. But while another injury-prone midfielder is the last thing Arsenal need the least, Bender may just be the missing link in their midfield.
Things haven’t exactly gone according to plan for Asier Illarramendi since his big-money switch to Real Madrid in summer 2013. The previous season, he had been an integral part of the Real Sociedad side that qualified for the Champions League and that convinced the Merengues to splash £24m for his services. He failed to impress in his first campaign and after of Lucas Silva’s January arrival, he looks more marginalised than ever. Carlo Ancelotti says the Spaniard is still part of his plans, but with only five league starts to his name, Illarramendi is unlikely to stay. With Mikel Arteta ageing and becoming ever more injury prone, his compatriot could be a perfect like-for-like replacement. The Gunners might go for a more orthodox defensive midfielder in the summer, but if Wenger wants someone who can build from the back in the way their captain did, Illara might just be their man.
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