It wouldn't be the sexiest signing—and Arsenal fans will surely lament the lack of any big-money signings thus far in the January transfer window—but the team's rumored interest in West Ham midfielder Mohamed Diame could lead to a savvy signing for the Gunners.
From Phil Thomas of The Sun:
Arsenal are lining up a move to nick West Ham midfielder Mohamed Diame.The Hammers have offered the Senegal star, 25, a new deal just six months after he joined from Wigan Athletic.
But it depends on him agreeing to double a release clause to £7 million. Diame has yet to sign and the Gunners are keen on him—just as soon as he proves his fitness again.
He tore a hamstring last month but was an unused sub in Saturday’s loss at Sunderland.
While Arsenal has a number of solid players in the midfield, the team could really use a more reliable holding midfielder to reinforce an oft-shaky back line. With Diame's release clause reportedly just £3.5 million, this deal would be one heck of a bargain.
While Mikel Arteta has functioned admirably in that role and Abou Diaby has shown the occasional glimpse of brilliance at the position, Arteta is traditionally better in attacking roles and Diaby is quite inconsistent when he's actually healthy.
Plus, Diame is going to come on the cheap. Arsene Wenger can talk about having money to spend all he wants, but we all know the Gunners are going to be frugal at every opportunity.
If getting a player like Diame for a bargain means the squad has more money to add a quality forward—I'm still into the idea of adding Atletico Madrid's Adrian—then I fully support this rumored signing.
Coming into January, I felt the Gunners needed to improve in three areas—at striker, at holding midfielder and possibly at right-back if Bacary Sagna doesn't sign a contract extension. While I'd still prefer a player like Yann M'Vila, that probably won't happen and Diame is the cheaper alternative.
With Theo Walcott actually looking pretty good playing centrally—certainly much better than I expected—I've softened my stance that the team needs a striker and believe adding a forward that can fit in multiple place across the front three would suffice. That's why I believe adding a player like Adrian would be a nice fit.
With that being said, everything looks like it will hinge on whether or not the team lands Diame. If this deal doesn't go through, the Gunners are back to the drawing board in regard to adding a holding midfielder, and few capable of making a difference for the Gunners will come so cheaply.