With the 2010 FIFA World Cup ending with a thrilling finale, the sole focus in world football is now the summer transfer window. With the World Cup being such a success, boasting fantastic, entertaining football, many players from the respective 32 nations are being targeted by some of the biggest clubs in Europe.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was on hand at South Africa. The Frenchman witnessed the whole show and would have undoubtedly taken some notes on key players. Wenger has vowed to implement changes into his youthful squad after failing to secure silverware for five seasons now.
Although the Arsenal boss does boast a talented midfield, that are blessed with both youth and ability, he is still demanding the addition of a new quality midfielder. Many midfielders showcased their talents on the world stage, proving there capable of performing in some of the toughest circumstances known to man.
Here are seven midfielders Arsene Wenger can target.
1. Mesut Özil - Germany
Obviously. Mesut Özil was immense in South Africa. The German dynamo tore up some of the world's best teams with brilliant displays of speed, skill, and decisive passing. The heart and soul of the German attack and the Werder Bremen man is only 21.
Özil 's efforts ensured the whole footballing world stood up and watched, thus meaning nearly ever dominant team wants the German midfielder on their side. Arsenal are rumoured to be one of the front-runners if the former Schalke 04 starlet decides to depart the Green Whites.
Although Barcelona are said to be the closer to capturing Özil , he is yet to come to a decision. The 21-year-old's performances have also ensured his value has almost doubled. Before the Cup, Özil was said to be worth only about £ 10 million but now £ 20 million looks to be the asking price.
2. Wesley Sneijder-Netherlands
Arguably the best player in the tournament and in the Dutch side, Sneijder was outstanding for the Oranje. Performing strongly in all of the Netherlands encounters as well as notching an equal first five goals, his displays had people wondering why Real Madrid let the Dutch ace depart.
Currently at Inter Milan, it does seem a long shot for Wenger to tempt Sneijder to the Emirates, but if captain and midfield maestro Cesc Fabregas does leave Arsenal for Barcelona then Wenger would have more than enough to satisfy Inter's tastes.
3. Sami Khedira-Germany
Many believed the young German midfield would falter without captain Michael Ballack, but alas the young guns performed out of their skin, playing superbly and worrying all nations with the thought of what is to come for these emerging talents.
Alongside Özil , Sami Khedira was also a unexpected standout. Appearing in all seven of Germany's matches, the 23-year-old took hold of the defensive duties in the midfield and handled the job with complete ease. The VfB Stuttgart dynamo tore down opposition attacks and also tracked back strongly, aiding his defenders. His tenacious defending allowed his attacks to go forward with much more ease.
Khedira would be a great addition to the Arsenal squad and would gel in nicely to Wenger's 4-3-3. Despite being a defensive midfielder, the former German U-21 captain is also a handy attacker.
Blessed with great strength and power as well as a accurate, reliable passing range, Khedira could well be in reach for Wenger.
4. Bastian Schweinsteiger-Germany
The oldest member of the German team and their vice captain, Bastian Schweinsteiger has been a outstanding contributor for Germany and Bayern Munich and was also a strong force at South Africa.
The 25-year-old is currently being pursued by a number of top clubs and there is no reason why Arsenal cannot follow suit. Although the Munich-grown midfielder would be expensive, he would bring a great deal to the Arsenal midfield.
Not only tremendously experienced and a born leader, Schweinsteiger is blessed with ideal strength in both feet, damaging speed, and a fierce strike. He is capable of playing anywhere in the midfield as well as a second striker or winger, so Wenger certainly needs to jump onto the Schweinsteiger wagon.
5. Kevin-Prince Boateng-Ghana
After Michael Essien was ruled out of the World Cup, many expected to see a less lethal and weak Ghanaian side. However, this was not the case; the Black Stars defied odds and advanced to the quarterfinals impressively.
Essien's replacement Kevin-Prince Boateng was terrific. Playing in the defensive role of the midfield, the 23-year-old proved a reliable presence with some assured performances.
The Portsmouth man boasts great strength, an aggressive yet effective tackle, and a solid passing range. With his side Portsmouth being relegated in 2009/2010, Boateng will be undoubtedly be looking for a way out of Fratton park. The German-born Ghanaian would bring added depth and quality to the Arsenal midfield.
6. Michael Bradley-USA
Mike Bradley was a breakthrough for the Americans in their run to the round of 16. Displaying great fitness levels and a top-notch passing range, the 22-year-old, whose father Bob Bradley coached the Yanks , is now being eyed by many clubs.
With a glistening future ahead of him, Wenger's guidance could enable the Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder to undoubtedly blossom into one of the world's finest midfielders
Unlikely to cost a huge amount, Wenger should quickly take advantage before another side does.
7. Valter Birsa-Slovenia
Slovenia were surprise packages in group C. Despite failing to progress to the next stage, the Slovenians defeated Algeria and had a surprise draw with USA. Valter Birsa proved to be a credible midfielder, scoring against the Americans and performing strongly in all of Slovenia's matches.
Currently with Auxerre, the 23-year-old would be a welcome addition to the Arsenal side. Versatile and quick, Birsa would add depth and experience to the young Gunners midfield.
8. Marek Hamsik-Slovakia
The Slovakian general and captain continued his reputation of one of the best young talents whilst performing with Slovakia. Conjuring up scintillating passes and runs, the Napoli midfielder would be another strong replacement if Cesc Fabregas leaves.
Hamsik is still only 22 and the heart of both Slovakia's and Napoli's attacks. With great speed, strength, and a devastating shot and free kick, a huge future is still well ahead of him.
Wenger may find the former Brescia young gun a little pricey for his liking, but with the potential Fabregas money acquiring Hamsik would well be in his reach.
9. Rafael Van Der Vaart-Netherlands
Although the Real Madrid midfielder did not have the hugest impact, despite the Oranje's achievement, Rafael Van Der Vaart is still regarded as one of the best midfielders in the Spanish La Liga.
Struggling to find a permanent place in the Madrid midfield that boasts the likes of Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Xabi Alonso, the 27-year-old would be a quality signing for the Gunners.
Blessed with a intelligent footballing brain, strong speed, versatility to play anywhere in the midfield as well as a winger and second striker, and an adequate passing range, Van Der Vaart would be a promising buy for the North London clubs regardless if Fabregas departs.
The price may be expensive but it could benefit Arsenal greatly.
Are these nine midfielders ideal for Arsene Wenger and his club? Can they bring the Gunners back to glory? Time will tell with both whose coming to the Emirates and whether Arsenal will succeed.