Reports in Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport suggest that Arsenal are closing in on Lazio midfielder Hernanes after he turned down a big money move to Anzhi Makhachkala.
Arsenal scouts have apparently been tracking the Brazilian international all season as we consider whether to sign Yossi Benayoun on a permanent deal for next season and whether to invest what appears to be quite a substantial amount of money in a younger winger/attacking midfielder.
Lazio paid £9 million to Sao Paulo for Hernanes in 2010 and it is thought that they would want around double that to let him leave the Stadio Olympico this summer. The 26-year-old has scored 9 goals this season for the Italians, but is apparently frustrated that he is not always in the starting line-up for the team as they push for 2012/13 Champions League qualification.
In my opinion this transfer is possible but unlikely. Hernanes is just one of several midfielders (e.g Marvin Martin, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Shinji Kagawa, Younes Belhanda) linked to Arsenal within the last few weeks and there is not much evidence that any of them are nearing a deal to join the club. That said, we are still a month away from the end of the season and about 10 weeks away from the opening day of the transfer window. A lot could change between now and then.
Bar any serious injury problems (which is almost impossible with Arsenal players) we already have a very strong midfield. It’s not about finding players to fill the squad; we already have Ramsey, Diaby and Coquelin – all of whom are very capable midfielders in their own right. Wenger has already said that he is prepared to spend big if he can find that one superstar that finishes off the team. Mario Gotze is the player that is constantly being mentioned, but I don’t know enough about him to be able to judge whether or not he justifies the £35m price-tag.