While most of the transfer speculation surrounding Arsenal has suggested they may be looking to add an elite striker, another area of the squad requires addressing. There’s also room for an addition in central midfield, with no obvious alternative to the combative Francis Coquelin.
According to John Percy of the Telegraph, Arsene Wenger may have identified an appropriate target. He links the Gunners with a bid for Polish international midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak, suggesting a £22 million bid could be imminent:
Krychowiak played for Sevilla against Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup, and Percy claims a delegation from north London was present to watch him in action:
Arsenal have maintained a consistent interest in Krychowiak over the past 18 months and Wenger is looking to bring in another defensive midfielder to rival Francis Coquelin.
The 25-year-old joined the Stellar Group agency, who look after Joe Hart and Gareth Bale, earlier this summer and is believed to be open to the prospect of joining a Premier League club competing in the Champions League.
There is a good case for Arsenal adding another defensive midfielder. Coquelin has become integral to the team, but as his faltering display against West Ham shows, he is far from infallible. Competition would be beneficial; cover seems essential.
At present, an injury to Coquelin would mean a first-team promotion for one of the veteran pair of Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini. Although each has his noteworthy attributes, neither convinces as a realistic alternative to the feisty Frenchman.
A club with Arsenal’s vast resources should not have to contemplate such a drop-off in quality between first team and immediate reserve, so if an upgrade could be found, Wenger should not hesitate to bring someone in.
Krychowiak seems to fit the bill. Like Coquelin, he is an aggressive ball-winner who would complement Arsenal’s plentiful playmakers. He has been with Sevilla for only one year after making his name in French football, which is presumably where he first came to Wenger’s attention. He’s taller than Coquelin and could offer Arsenal a greater degree of protection at set pieces.
It seems telling that only relegated Burnley conceded more headed goals than Arsenal in the 2014/15 Premier League. Krychowiak could help assuage that issue.
This would not be a player content to play second fiddle. Although he would begin on the bench, he'd undoubtedly have the ambition and the ability to contest for a place in the first XI.
While £22 million would be a lot of money to spend on a player who would not be a guaranteed starter, Wenger has shown a recent willingness to invest significant sums in squad players. The fees paid for Gabriel Paulista and Danny Welbeck, for example, indicate Arsenal now have the wealth to lavish major sums on players who will not be called upon every week. They can afford the fee more than they can afford the risk of a prolonged spell without a competent holding midfielder.