Arsenal have been linked with various players in the past few weeks, and the latest to be named is Montpellier midfielder Younes Belhanda, who has revealed that his preferred destination for a move is England.
Arsene Wenger has been linked with various central midfielders, including Lyon pair Clement Grenier and Yoann Gourcuff. Wenger has had an issue with the fitness levels of his current midfielders, and hence would ideally see an addition in that department. Players like Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey, who were tipped for big success at the club, have been hit by bad luck with injuries over the past few seasons. Ever since the departure of former club captain Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona, Wenger has been struggling with the midfield, with Abou Diaby again failing to gain fitness.
The Gunners have also been heavily linked with Everton star Marouane Fellaini, who could be on the move after David Moyes’ departure to Manchester United. However, Fellaini serves the role of a defensive midfielder, while Belhanda, if bought, would play behind the strikers, in a more attacking role.
23-year old Belhanda has also been heavily linked with a move to Premier League strugglers Aston Villa, who have been tracking the contractual situation of the midfielder for the past few seasons. Paul Lambert is keen on bringing the Moroccan to Villa Park, but now faces competition from Arsenal.
However, against the odds, it will be Wenger who will have to convince the midfielder to snub a move to Villa and join Arsenal instead. The midfielder, at 23-years of age, cannot afford to miss out on first team football, and with the FIFA World Cup to be held in Brazil next year, the upcoming season will be vital for Belhanda to be noticed by the Moroccan officials.
Belhanda’s capture would be a smart coup for the club, as the player’s valuation could improve if he is exposed to the competitive environment of the Premier League, as with Fabregas. Also, it would provide competition for places in the squad, keeping the existing players on their toes.
According to SkySports, Belhanda has conceded that the decision about his move rests with his current club – Montpellier, with the possibility of his choice being overturned.
Belhanda said, “Nothing has been decided yet. My club wants €15million (£12.8m) and not many teams can pay that.”
“I have always said that my preference would be England, but if they can’t agree a price with my current club then I will not go there.”