Mikel Arteta (8)
Wenger targets £12m Arteta to fill Fábregas gap
• Wenger admits he needs a 'creative midfielder'
• Andrei Arshavin remains an Arsenal target
Mikel Arteta is a £12m target for Arsenal. Photograph: Neal Simpson/PA
Arsenal's pursuit of a creative midfielder to reignite their title challenge has prompted Arsène Wenger to target the Everton playmaker Mikel Arteta, with the Frenchman prepared to break with tradition and spend a considerable fee on a more experienced player during the transfer window.
Wenger has seen his side slip out of contention at the top of the Premier League — they trail Liverpool by 10 points — and battling with Aston Villa to retain a place in the Champions League positions. The loss of Cesc Fábregas to medial-ligament damage has further reduced his options, with the club having seen a clutch of midfielders — Mathieu Flamini, Gilberto Silva, Lassana Diarra and Alexandr Hleb — leave in the past 12 months.
Add the persistent injury problems which have sidelined Tomas Rosicky and Wenger admitted at the weekend that he is seeking "a creative midfielder, and eventually another midfielder, because we are short". Andrei Arshavin, who has made no secret of his desire to move to the Premier League or Serie A, remains a target, though Wenger has been impressed with Arteta's influence and invention and may test Everton's resolve to retain the former Paris St-Germain and Rangers player.
Everton paid Real Sociedad some £2m for Arteta after he impressed during a six-month loan spell at Goodison in 2005 and he quickly established himself. He signed an improved five-year contract at the club in the summer of 2007 and, having undergone surgery on a stomach problem which had hampered him towards the end of last season, he is returning to his best. Everton have risen to sixth, with Arteta scoring two in Sunday's 3–0 win over Sunderland.
Moyes and his chairman, Bill Kenwright, have stressed that they will be dismissive of interest in their players in the transfer window. "None of our players is for sale," said Kenwright this week in the wake of potential interest from Manchester City in Arteta and Joleon Lescott. Yet Arsenal could test that resolve and would be prepared to pay up to £12m for an experienced creative midfielder who will improve their squad and, potentially, be able to work effectively alongside his compatriot Fábregas when the Spaniard returns to full fitness.
Any successful move for Arteta would probably require the midfielder to agitate for a transfer — he has consistently indicated he is content on Merseyside in recent times — but the lure of Champions League football and, consequently, a higher profile with which finally to claim international recognition, having featured earlier for the Under-21s, would be enticing. The 26-year-old is in the highest bracket of earners at Goodison, though Arsenal would improve his wages and, ultimately, he may end up a more viable option for Wenger to pursue than Arshavin.
The Russian is hugely talented and available, though his club, Zenit St Petersburg, are understood to be seeking a fee of around £20m for a 27-year-old who has no experience of English football. Arsenal would be reluctant to match that valuation. There has been interest expressed in Arshavin from Italian clubs, including Udinese, as well as a possible suitor in Spain, and he is expected to move next month, though he would be cup-tied in the Champions League having featured for Zenit in the competition this season.
Arteta has played in the Uefa Cup for Everton but would be eligible should Arsenal prise him from Goodison Park. Wenger, who has also lost Theo Walcott to a long-term injury, is seeking "someone who can create a little spark" and, beyond a creative player, would ideally like to add further to his midfield options, potentially with another loan arrival. Yet he is also intent on ensuring that the development of younger players such as Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere is not stunted by the arrival of too many older heads.
From "The Guardian", i would actually prefer Arteta to Arshavin.
Last edited by Bl1nk; 31-08-2011 at 22:20.