Arsenal have been linked to two young midfielders as the close of the transfer window approaches. While Arsene Wenger has been talking of late about his need for striking reinforcements, it is also believed that the manager is keen to bolster his midfield.
One of the names on Wenger’s wish list appears to be France Under-20 international Florian Thauvin. Ligue 1 side Bastia have said that the 20-year-old has no intention of extending his current deal, which has just 18 months remaining, according to Sky Sports.
And Bastia chairman Pierre-Marie Geronimi has said that he has already rejected an offer from Newcastle, while Wenger has also been in touch.
“Florian Thauvin has been the object of just one concrete offer so far, from Newcastle, for €3 million (£2.6m), but we refused it," Geronimi told the radio station France Bleu.
"However, he didn't want to prolong his contract with Bastia, but he will stay until the end of the season.
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“We have not received any firm offer from Arsenal and, thus, there is no question of the €5 million (£4.3m) reported,” he added.
"This week I have had Arsene Wenger on the phone twice. He expressed his interest in the player to us, but it has not gone beyond that."
Arsenal have also been linked to 19-year-old AZ Alkmaar midfielder Adam Maher. Already an international for the Netherlands, Maher has been attracting plenty of attention, with Manchester City also thought to be interested.
However, AZ coach Gertjan Verbeek believes that a move to Arsenal would be the best fit for Maher.
“I think Arsenal would be a good environment for him,” Verbeek said, according to Metro.
“Under Arsene Wenger, these young talents have often improved. I think he [Maher] is very good and can grow there a bit like Robin van Persie.”
Metro believes that Maher would cost around £8.5 million, though the Eredivisie side are keen to keep hold of him until at least the end of the season.
Wenger may, however, decide to add more experience to his midfield. While just 21, Victor Wanyama has excelled in the Champions League for Celtic this season and the Kenyan is believed to be attracting strong interest from both Arsenal and Manchester United.
The head of the Kenyan Football Association has suggested that Wanyama may soon be on the move but has been coy about which club he will join.
“Wanyama will soon be joining one of the big two clubs in the world,” Sam Nyamweya said, according to the Scotsman. “It is an exciting moment for us, which means that Kenya is a powerhouse in football.”
Of course, Nyamweya could just have been speaking on the basis of the speculation he has also heard.
There has been news too about a potential move for another reported Arsenal midfield target, Anderlecht midfielder Lucas Biglia. While a deal now looks unlikely before the end of the transfer window, the 26-year-old, along with teammate Dieumerci Mbokani, could be moving on in the summer according to the Belgian champions.
“We will also work on the transfer of Biglia,” said Anderlecht chairman Roger vanden Stock, according to Sky Sports. “We are pleased that no-one has met his asking price. We want to win the title and Biglia can be of use to us.
"But I don't want to hold a player against his will. We are coming towards the end of a cycle and in the summer Mbokani and Biglia could leave."