Bosnia and Herzegovina have suffered an early exit from the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but one member of their squad proved he would be a perfect fit for Arsenal. Ferencvaros deep-lying midfield schemer Muhamed Besic is a dynamic, young player manager Arsene Wenger should sign this summer.
An active and technically assured midfielder, Besic has been the star of the show in both of Bosnia and Herzegovina's Group F games.
According to Jonathan Wilson of The Guardian, he gave a masterclass in how to play the modern defensive midfield role during his nation's unfortunate 2-1 defeat to Argentina:
The 21-year-old Besic, who in 2010 replaced Pjanic as the youngest player to represent Bosnia, had a fine game, both screening his defence and distributing sensibly. He often played the short pass to Pjanic, but occasionally looking long to Senad Lulic on the left flank. He was offloaded by Hamburg to Ferencvaros in 2012 after an incident that led to the manager Thorsten Fink grabbing him by the throat. The suggestion is that he has tamed the more turbulent part of his personality since then and certainly his performance was one of impressive maturity.
Besic was even better in a losing cause against Nigeria. In a game Bosnia and Herzegovina would have won handsomely had it not been for poor officiating and Edin Dzeko's wayward finishing, Besic was magnificent.
He was tough and tenacious in the tackle, regularly tracking back to break up attacks—even when the result was all but assured. In possession, Besic was the most accomplished player on the pitch, outshining the more illustrious Miralem Pjanic.
His passing was creative and forward-thinking. That type of delivery showcased another aspect of Besic's game, one that should particularly appeal to Wenger: He has the ability to quickly transition defence into attack.
Quick and fluid transitions are the key to Wenger's brand of stylish, expansive and possession-based football. It requires midfielders who will break from deep.
Sadly, only Aaron Ramsey and the perennially injured Abou Diaby exhibit those qualities in the current squad. Besic is physically solid and defensively astute, while still able to drive forward and lead attacks.
Defensive midfielder is not considered a pressing priority for the Gunners this summer, particularly in comparison to strikers and a new right-back. However, few supporters would argue that Wenger's team would benefit from a more versatile and talented pivot man.
Besic certainly fits the bill. He is more aggressive than Spanish veteran Mikel Arteta, while technically far superior to French battler Mathieu Flamini.
Wenger is searching for a more prolific striker, but Jeremy Wilson of The Telegraph indicated he won't ignore defensive midfield:
Fabregas never been seen as a priority after Ozil/Cazorla additions. A more defensive holding midfielder is and a right-back/goalkeeper— Jeremy Wilson (@JWTelegraph) June 7, 2014
Meanwhile, BBC Sport reporter David Ornstein believes Wenger will target the position only if the budget allows it:
That means likely waiting until after Arsenal have addressed their top priorities.
Of course, the phrase "right deal" covers a lot of scope—particularly for a manager as traditionally fiscally cautious as Wenger. But that's exactly why a player like Besic should appeal.
Although he has earned a few plaudits in Brazil, he is still a largely unknown commodity. That means his price should stay reasonably low, even after this tournament.
Meanwhile, Spanish publication AS (h/t Inside Spanish Football) has stated La Liga outfit Celta Vigo are also keen.
However, none of these clubs should be able to compete with the lure of playing for Arsenal.
It's often claimed that managers shouldn't sign players based on international tournaments. Frankly, that's a strange rule to adhere to. But if the concern is that Besic's recent performances are out of the norm, Wenger's mind can be eased.
Since his fiery temperament caused the issues at Hamburg hinted at by Wilson, Besic has quickly revived his career. Sky Sports Scout notes he was named the best foreign player in Hungary's OTP Bank Liga in 2013 and has been a consistent talisman for Ferencvaros.
He's mostly played at centre-back in Hungary, where he could provide excellent cover for Arsenal.
Wenger's options behind starting pair Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny are thin, with only oft-injured Thomas Vermaelen in reserve.
Besic would be an able deputy, but his future lies in midfield. Wenger successfully transitioned Frenchman Emmanuel Petit from centre-back to defensive midfield, and could do the same for Besic.
Signing Besic is a move Wenger should make. He'd be getting a young player offering the physicality his current squad lack, while also boasting the technical quality Arsenal demand.