Arsenal Transfer Rumors: Gunners Target Lille Forward Dimitri Payet

  on June 16 2013 9:15 AM

Arsenal are reportedly targeting prolific Lille forward Dimitri Payet. Website Sportsmole.co.uk cites an un-sourced report from French newspaper Le Parisien, suggesting Arsenal are keen to add Payet.

The exciting and versatile French attacker may not be in the mold of the big-money, marquee arrivals many Gunners fans are expecting this summer. But he certainly fits the profile of a classic Arsene Wenger signing.

The Arsenal chief has regularly plundered his homeland for several hidden gems during his time in North London. Emmanuel Petit, Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Bacary Sagna and Laurent Koscielny are some of Wenger's notably successful raids on Ligue 1.

Payet could easily be another. The dynamic 26-year-old perfectly suits Arsenal's system and structure of play. He is quick and creative-minded, with an eye for goal. Payet netted 12 times and made 11 assists last season.

He formed part of one of the most prolific front threes in European football during 2012/13. Payet is exactly the type of intelligent, fluid-moving forward Wenger covets for Arsenal's 4-2-3-1 formation.

He is particularly adept at attacking from the flanks. He has enjoyed most of his success on the left and that is where he might fit best for the Gunners.

Wenger could look for a more natural forward to occupy the left-sided berth in his front three. That would allow attacking midfielder Santi Cazorla to move back into the middle and take the central playmaker role, just behind the strikers.

It would also allow Wenger to continue deploying one of Olivier Giroud or Lukas Podolski through the middle. Payet's flair, technique and invention would provide consistent supply for the main centre-forward.

Wenger might even opt to add Payet on one flank and still recruit a more assured finisher to play centrally. Arsenal have been linked with a host of high-profile candidates for this position, including Gonzalo Higuain and Wayne Rooney.

Signing Payet would increase Wenger's options in attack. It would improve the interchangeability of his front three, something that has been an issue, along an often static forward line.

The Gunners boss would have to fend off competition for Payet's signature from Marseille. However, Wenger has dealt with Lille in the past over the Gervinho transfer in 2011.

The Ivory Coast forward has not made the grade in the English Premier League, but he could help Arsenal secure Payet. Marseille are said to be very interested in offering Gervinho a return to France, according to The Independent. That sale would almost certainly take them out of the race for Payet.

Wenger would even have the option of offering Gervinho back to Lille to sweeten a deal for Payet and trump Marseille's attempts. Using Gervinho as bait could drive down the price of a player Transfermarket.co.uk values at £13 million.

Payet may not be the star name many are craving. But there is no doubting his talent. He has the right attributes to be a major asset in the type of front three Wenger favors.

Snaring him would be a smart transfer from one of the market's shrewdest operators.