It feels like Arsene Wenger has been down this road before. There's a talented, young French midfielder on the market that is reportedly on Arsenal's shopping list.
Wenger has already gone on record stating the club is targeting Clement Grenier for a possible transfer during the summer window. Speaking to Telefoot, Wenger said (h/t Jamie Dunn of Goal.com):
"We are following him. His intelligence of play pleases me. He has interesting qualities. He reminds me of Nasri."
Now it seems the interest could become more concrete.
The Daily Mail's Simon Jones reported Wenger would be interested in the Lyon midfielder. Jones writes that a fee of £8 million could be enough to pry the midfielder away from the Ligue 1 club.
That would be much lower than Lyon owner Jean-Michel Aulas' valuation of Grenier, according to Canal+ (h/t Adam Mazrani of Goal.com):
"If Arsene wants to have an idea of Grenier's price, I will tell him that it is the same as what Bayern Munich paid for Mario Gotze - around €37 [£31m]."
Gunners supporters might be bemoaning the possible move as just another young midfielder coming along what has felt like an assembly line of skilled, young dribblers. He's a good player, but not the kind who would push the club back into the Premier League title hunt for 2013/14.
Paying anywhere close to €37 million would be ridiculous.
Maybe Bayern spending that much on Mario Gotze was a bit much, but Gotze at least proved himself, helping Borussia Dortmund to back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012 and their Champions League final appearance this past season.
However, Grenier's built himself a nice resume.
It's over the last two seasons that Grenier has really emerged. He made 21 appearances for Lyon in Ligue 1 in 2011/12, finishing with five assists. This season, Grenier has made 27 appearances, scoring six goals and adding five assists.
He's one of the best young midfielders in France. That's no small feat considering some of the talent that has come out of Ligue 1 in recent seasons and still remains in the league.
The French national team is undergoing an overhaul, and you can expect Grenier to be a major contributor in the coming years.
The midfielder has great technical ability for this stage in his career. He's a skilled dribbler and doesn't waste his movement with the ball. Grenier would need some time to adjust to the Premier League, but after a few months, he should have no problem helping out on the attack.
Grenier is also a superb set-piece taker. Even at 22 years old, there are few in the world who are better than him at striking free-kicks. Grenier can come in and immediately become Arsenal's first choice from any set piece.
His goal against Nice has already become the stuff of legend.
Grenier is best playing in a more advanced central role, but he could easily drop a little deeper and become the proverbial deep-lying playmaker.
If Arsenal can get him in the £15-20 million range, Wenger should pull the trigger. Anything more would be too large a gamble to take at this stage.
The club can't afford to simply qualify for Europe much longer. Sooner or later Wenger will need to make the moves necessary to get the club in line for a title push. Overpaying for Grenier would feel like the club is looking to build for the future more than it's concerned with winning in the short term.
If the club is going to spend £25-30 million on a player, he should already be established and in his prime. Grenier has yet to reach that point. He's shown a ton of promise, but it's far from a sure thing that he'll follow through on his potential.
Yoann Gourcuff was a talented young midfielder when he moved to AC Milan, but it's been largely downhill since then for him.
Arsenal would be smart to move for Grenier, but only if the price is right.
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