Arsenal has reportedly agreed to a £17.7 million transfer fee for Rennes midfielder Yann M'Vila, according to Le Parisien, in a move that would greatly bolster the talent of the Gunners' midfield for many years.
If M'Vila comes to the Emirates for that price, it would be a club-record transfer fee, overtaking the £15.5 million Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger paid for Russian forward Andrey Arshavin in 2009.
The decision to purchase M'Vila before Euro 2012 gets under way in June would be a smart one because the star midfielder's play could easily raise his transfer price after the tournament.
M'Vila is one of the greatest defensive-minded midfielders in the world, and at just 21 years old, he hasn't even reached his full potential yet. Over the past year, he has been a target of Wenger's and has become a major part of the French national team.
The French midfielder would join a crowded group of central defenders on the Gunners squad, but he is by far the best defensive-minded player of the bunch.
He would allow Alex Song, who has been tremendous throughout the season, to play in a more attacking role than he has previously.
The best comparison to M'Vila is fellow French midfielder Patrick Vieira, who, of course, is one of Arsenal's greatest players ever and captained the squad to Premier League and FA Cup titles.
French legend Marcel Desailly thinks that M'Vila will be better than Vieira, telling Goal.com last month:
I would just say that if I was the chairman of a Premier League club I would just close my eyes and put the figure on the cheque to get him. ...
He needs to come to the Barclays Premier League. We want him in this competition because it is the best, first of all, and he can really develop his skills. It is for players who like to play with tempo. ...
Once he will have understood [how to defend] you will see he is the best midfielder – better even than Patrick Vieira.
More importantly for Arsenal, completing the signing of M'Vila would further convince star striker and captain Robin van Persie that the club is making the strong effort needed to strengthen the club and end the long trophy drought. Van Persie's current contract expires after next season.
If Arsenal can complete the signing of M'Vila, they will have acquired a star midfielder who can be a rock on defense and a playmaker on the attack.
Wenger needed to make a splash in the transfer market to boost his club after losing the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy in the transfer window last summer.
With M'Vila and Lukas Podolski in the fold, Arsenal would be a much better defensive team next season and a top contender for the Premier League title.