Real Madrid midfielder Asier Illaramendi is keen on a move to Arsenal in the summer, according to reports from MARCA in Spain.
The Spanish press believe Illaramendi will certainly leave this summer, and Arsenal are his first choice. Since the arrival of Lucas Silva in January, Illaramendi’s game time has been severely limited and he wants out.
The 25 year old has never been capped, but cost Madrid £34million in 2013. If sold this summer, he’d cost significantly less.
The Gunners will no doubt be looking for another holding midfielder in the summer, despite Francis Coquelin’s brilliant form. Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini and Abou Diaby’s futures beyond the summer remain a mystery as it is not clear whether any of the trio have a contract beyond the summer.
The Gunners have a long term interest in Illaramendi, but were priced out of a move when Madrid entered the bidding. Wenger may well move for him again if he is available for something clapper to the £15million Arsenal were reportedly willing to spend on him before. Liverpool are also interested, but the player is allegedly most keen to move to London and play for the Gunners.
Illaramendi is not a similar player to Coquelin, more so Arteta so he might act as a replacement for the experience Spaniard and allow Coquelin to continue in his role. Signing someone like Morgan Schneiderlin may well mean Coquelin is displaced in the first XI, but it gives the Gunners more depth in defensive midfield.
The question is, do we want another hard man in midfield, or another ball specialist? It looks like Illaramendi or Schneiderlin this summer, but which would you prefer?