Arsenal’s pursuit of a defensive midfielder is set to lead them down another dead end. Arsene Wenger is desperate to add a quality anchor man to stabilize his midfield but has so far found no luck.
He had a £19 million bid rejected for Bayer Leverkusen star Lars Bender while speculation is rife about a move for Everton’s Marouane Fellaini, but Wenger is reluctant to meet the £24 million release clause. Spain U21’s European Championship triumph showed off the talents of Asier Illarramendi, a player who Arsene had been tracking for a few months.
His spectacular performances throughout the competitions made other clubs take notice despite Isco and Thiago Alcantara taking the headlines and it seems a move to Real Madrid is on the horizon. The Real Sociedad midfielder is being heavily likened to Madrid’s own Xabi Alonso and could well be a like for like replacement both at Real Madrid and Spain.
Alonso has been tipped for a summer move away with both Liverpool and Chelsea considering bids for the 31 year old. Illarramendi’s acquisition could confirm Alonso’s exit with Sami Khedira and Luka Modric all placing in the same position.
The clubs are currently locked in negotiations over a £25 million switch for the young Spaniard but both parties believe a deal can be reached. Arsenal have the finances to counter Madrid’s offer but want to find a cheaper alternative. Not disturbing Madrid’s offer could also help them in their pursuit of Madrid attacker Gonzalo Higuain.
Wenger made a concrete offer for Bender, which was rejected and has had no luck in his efforts to get Illarramendi and Fellaini. A move for Gareth Barry has been mentioned but Wenger will want a marquee signing to fill the gap rather than a make do man.