Arsenal will launch a bold £20 Million bid to sign Borussia Dortmund midfield linchpin Ilkay Gundogan, according to reports in The Daily Mail. Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is a big fan of Gundogan and he perfectly suits Arsenal's style of play.
The diminutive schemer is more of a deep-lying playmaker, rather than a rugged enforcer. He is stout enough to break up attacks in defensive areas. But Gundogan is at his best when releasing attackers from deep.
The 22-year-old succeeds thanks to his quality as a passer. Gundogan is comfortable on the ball and technically adept. His touch is excellent and his passing is clever and imaginative.
In recent seasons Wenger has favored a ball-player in the defensive role, rather than a more physical spoiler. During the 2012/13 campaign, Mikel Arteta occupied the deep-lying role.
While the veteran Spaniard lacked imposing strength, he was an invaluable conductor of Arsenal's possession play. Pairing Arteta with another natural playmaker would improve the overall flow and pace of Arsenal's passing.
That could be the option Wenger chooses, instead of opting for a marauding destructor. That is the dilemma Wenger has in midfield and the current transfer rumors help illustrate this tough call.
Aside from Gundogan, Arsenal have also been linked with a move for Marouane Fellaini, according to Goal.com. Fellaini is more in the mold of the classic rugged midfield destroyer.
He is also less stationary and more direct than Arteta and Gundogan. A player like Fellaini would also add the box-to-box element many feel the Gunners' midfield lacks.
But part of Arsenal's defensive success last term was due to keeping greater numbers behind the ball. Having a static two-man base in the midfield meant Arsenal were not exposed to counterattacks, something that had been a major issue in the past.
Also, having a player like Gundogan who can fire defence-splitting passes from deep, would improve Arsenal's own counterattacking potential. The Gunners have pace in attack with the likes of Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott.
They have also been heavily linked with Gonzalo Higuain, according to The Daily Mirror. Higuain would add more quickness to the Gunners' forward line.
But somebody has to launch the passes to take advantage of that quickness. Gundogan is that player. He excelled finding the runs of Dortmund forwards Robert Lewandowski and Marco Reus, with intelligent, accurate passes.
Of course, getting Dortmund to part with such a promising young player would be far from easy. They have already lost Mario Goetze and Lewandowski is expected to follow.
Gundogan, a Germany international, may also be loathed to leave the Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League runners-up. The link to Arsenal is part of a mooted triple swoop by The Mail.
The newspaper suggests Wenger is keen on a bumper deal for Higuain, Gundogan and possibly fellow German Lars Bender. That is certainly a lavish-sounding bid.
But Arsenal are said to have the cash to launch this kind of raid. Gundogan is the type of cultured, young talent Wenger favors.
He is ideally suited to the brand of expansive, creative football Arsenal want to play. This is a deal Wenger should use the club's new-found fiscal power to force through.