Only a week to go before the transfer window shuts and Arsenal are still in search of reinforcements. Arsene Wenger has suggested he will add two players to the squad and given the others players he has mentioned it would appear that top of his wants list is a striker and combative central midfielder.
While he is a long way off on the former, the latter could be an easier process as I think he may have found the ideal player in Mohamed Diame .
Even though he played a very small cameo in last night’s game between Arsenal and West Ham and his team were down to ten men after the injury to Potts, Diame still did enough to catch the eye. He is such a large imposing figure that even without touching a ball he adds presence to a side.
Last night he started on the left side of midfield and undertook a few runs at the Arsenal defence one of which caused Sagna real problems. He then shifted to the right hand side for the last couple of minutes of the game looking to create opportunities for the Hammers on the break.
He is clearly the lynch pin of the West Ham midfield, Allardyce certainly thinks so which explains why he is so keen to keep him, and they sorely missed him during the ten minutes of madness at the start of the second half last night.
So why then I do expect Mohamed Diame to be an Arsenal player in hours rather than days?
1 He is a proven Premiership player – Take a look at Man United. When Fergie wants a player in that he will mould his his team around he always shops in the Premiership. Think about it – Ferdinand, Rooney, Carrick, Young, Van Persie. He is happy to take chances with players and some come off (Ronaldo) while others are less successful (Nani) but on the whole United like players with proven Premiership experience.
It works at Arsenal too, and Wenger clearly knows this. With Arteta there was no time spent letting him finding his feet acclimatising to the rigours of English football. He had been playing in Britain for nearly a decade so he just got on with it and slotted in from the start. Arsenal need reinforcements to help propel them to that Champions League fourth spot not gambles for the future – save those for the summer.
I think Diame would slot in easily and quickly at Arsenal which is an essential attribute of a winter window purchase.
2 He is versatile – Diame is tough in the tackle and solid at the back, yet when given the chance to push forward he can take players on and set up chances. He can do both the defensive midfielder and box to box midfielder too.
As I wrote before
For me Diame is a slightly more defensively minded version of Diaby, minus the dodgy ankle, and his versatility would be a key ingredient for the Gunners. Put it this way opposing teams would never know what type of Arsenal midfield they were dealing with and that unpredictability would cause opposition managers real headaches.
If Jack Wilshere is the future of Arsenal he needs to play alongside a midfilder who will curb their attacking instincts and let the England player express himself. Diame could be the man to play this role.
3 He’ll come cheaply
The player clearly wants to leave West Ham and given his £3.5 million transfer trigger he wouldn’t dent Arsenal’s cash stash too greatly. Of course he will cost more than that amount and probably a lot more if other clubs start sniffing around – but he won’t end up being too expensive.
4 Wenger is running out of options – It still puzzles me a little why Wenger, who was keen on Yann M’Vila for so long, didn’t bid for the Rennes midfielder. It is clear that M’Vila wanted to come and he also would have been add steel to the Arsenal midfield. I guess his bad boy reputation put Arsene off. The sad truth is though that there really aren’t that many option left now for Arsene, especially with Premiership experience. Wigan’s James McCarthy is a possibility, and there’s that fuzzy haired fella from Everton too.
5 Diame could play in the Champions League – Diame could start against Bayern if required. Also if Arsenal, didn’t qualify for the Champions League this year it would be less of an issue for the player than it would be say some bigger money signings from outside the Premiership.
So what is stopping Wenger? Diame’s fitness – he had a heart scare a few years back? The feeling that he is a bit of a mercenary – after all he has only been a West Ham player for a few months. The ongoing search for British talent?
Ultimately I think that none of these are insurmountable and that Mohammed Diame will be an Arsenal player some time this week. It just makes sense.