Among the heap of elite names being linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium this summer, Morgan Schneiderlin holds a renown as something of a secondary option, an alternative should Arsenal's other plans not go accordingly.
However, the Mirror's John Cross reports that Arsene Wenger, currently working as a World Cup pundit on French television, is stepping up his interest in the Southampton star, who could be the latest to join the St. Mary's exodus.
Ronald Koeman has already lost Luke Shaw and Rickie Lambert to Manchester United and Liverpool, respectively, and David Anderson of the Mirror claims that Adam Lallana's own move to Anfield could be completed later on Monday.
But while those three Saints stars provided the sizzle for their side en route to an eighth-place Premier League finish last season, Schneiderlin was the steak, the often understated foundation of their cause.
Back in March, the French international, currently in Brazil on World Cup duty with Didier Deschamps' squad, spoke to French media (h/t Metro's Jamie Sanderson) regarding his intent to one day leave the south coast:
"It is my dream to one day play at a great club. Arsenal? I have a three year contract, so it will not be easy. It’s my dream to one day play at a great club though – so why not?"
And were it not for a wealth of talent occupying his position in Les Bleus' roster, Schneiderlin may well have come upon more World Cup minutes this summer. But it's a testament of his ability that the revered likes of Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi, Yohan Cabaye and Rio Mavuba are the ones keeping him at bay.
However, WhoScored.com illustrates that the 24-year-old is most certainly of a World Cup standard, utilising his opportunities in the starting XI efficiently:
With Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and former loanee Kim Kallstrom experiencing their share of injury woes last season, Mikel Arteta was at times left short of help as the Gunners' pivot, and could himself require a replacement before next summer.
Squawka illustrates some of the stopping power in Schneiderlin's arsenal, showing the kind of steel he would add to their ranks as an anchoring presence:
Wenger is by no means short on creative powers, with Ramsey, Wilshere and the renewed Tomas Rosicky all offering more expansive roles in a possible midfield three or as a partner to accommodate a 4-2-3-1 line-up.
However, in a side that requires a master of his trade, focused primarily on restraining the opposition and releasing those more expressive assets, Schneiderlin has proven to be most capable.
And for that reason, the Frenchman should be seen as a must-sign target, far worthier than just a Plan B.
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