Arsene Wenger must make a bargain swoop for Yoann Gourcuff this month. According to reports in Metro, Gourcuff could be available for just £3 million, as Lyon look to cash in during the winter transfer window.
Gourcuff would be an excellent recovery project for Wenger. A supremely gifted playmaker, Gourcuff has the talent and guile to improve any attack. However, issues with his temperament have seen the 26-year-old manage only brief stints at numerous clubs.
Despite his troubles, Gourcuff has still earned international status and his ability is still highly regarded. Wenger is one of his biggest admirers and could turn around his lagging career the way he did for fellow Gallic wizard Robert Pires.
Gourcuff is just the kind of technically astute, intelligent link player the Gunners need to boost their attack. He is at this best when given a free role between the midfield and forward lines. At the moment, Santi Cazorla is beginning to struggle at that position, under the burden of being Arsenal's lone source of creativity.
Pairing the diminutive Spanish ace with another forward-thinking, flair player would revitalise Arsenal's season. A combination of Cazorla's skill and Gourcuff's mercurial craft would restore the style and fluidity to Arsenal's play.
Too often this season, the Gunners have been guilty of slow and aimless football. Wenger's style works best with quickness. Speed of thought must dictate quick passing, dovetailed with equally nifty and fluid movement.
Gourcuff has the ingenuity to improve the combination play between Arsenal's midfielders and forwards. The Gunners appear well-stocked in central midfield, but it is an illusory strength. Cazorla is slowing down somewhat, after an outstanding start to his Arsenal career. Mikel Arteta is currently injured and bright, young talent Jack Wilshere is under increasing pressure to carry the team.
In reserve, Arsenal can hardly rely on talented, but ultra-brittle pair Abou Diaby and Tomas Rosicky. Francis Coquelin and Aaron Ramsey lack either the experience or consistency to play key roles in elevating the Gunners back into the top four.
Those factors make Gourcuff well worth a gamble. His attitude, work rate and lavish wages may be called into question, but Arsenal need quality, rather than graft, to turn their season around. Quality is something Gourcuff will never be short of.
Wenger took risks with the likes of Pires and Marc Overmars in the past. Those gambles paid off handsomely. If he could do the same with Gourcuff, it would be the most significant contribution to Arsenal's season.