Arsenal's lack of punch in midfield has been their curse in recent years. With Alex Song now at Barcelona and Abou Diaby riddled with injury problems, the Gunners find themselves lacking a player who possesses the technique required to play their brand of football as well as someone who is able to boss the middle of the park.
West Ham midfielder Mohamed Diame has been touted as a serious candidate to fill that role, so talkSPORT looks at how the Senegal international, whose release clause is a reported bargain at £3.5m, could be the glue to hold this fragile Arsenal side together.
Diame attended the prestigious Clairefontaine academy in France for three years before joining the youth ranks at Lens, where he made his professional debut with the reserve team in 2005. However, after medical exams revealed he suffers from a heart condition, Lens decided to let the midfielder go. Spanish lower league side Linares offered him a break on a year long contract in 2007, and after completing the season in southern Spain, he earned a move to Rayo Vallecano, who were then plying their trade in the second division. Diame's consistently strong performances added to a growing reputation, which saw Real Betis, Real Madrid and Barcelona scout him during his spell at Vallecano. In the end, Wigan pipped the lot of them to his signature in 2009, with chairman Dave Whelan claiming Barca were put off because of his heart problem. After three years with the Latics, he was released in 2012 and join the Hammers.
Diame also brings international experience and has been capped 15 times by Senegal. He played in all four of their games at the 2012 Olympics during their run to the quarter finals.
Though he operates more defensively, Diame has been encouraged to explore the attacking side of his game under West Ham manager Sam Allardyce and has frequently ventured forward from deeper positions in an attempt to break opposition lines. Allardyce has compared him to Yaya Toure and though Diame is a long way from reaching the Champions League winner's level, at 25, he still has time to refine his game and being surrounded by the sort of quality at Arsenal, would surely help him excel further. Diame's energy helps him recover from sporadic errors, and the midfielder is a decent dribbler for his size. His time in Spain as well as with Wigan means he is technically sound and he also strikes the ball well.
How would he fit in at Arsenal?
Arsene Wenger has bemoaned the goals he believes his side shouldn't have conceded this season, as well as the number of 50/50s his players have lost, which he believes have cost them in big games. In that regard, Diame seems like a perfect fit, with Wenger himself claiming he 'has a great presence' and can 'drive the midfield'. While Diame's defensive abilities are clearly his biggest selling point, he is also capable of chipping in with much needed goals and his dynamic displays would inject some energy into an often sleepy Gunners side. Moreover, the addition of another deep lying midfielder would ensure that Jack Wilshere is free to play the attacking role Arsenal are keen for him to explore, which would see the England ace pulling the strings further forward rather than keeping his eye on what's going on behind him. At £3.5m, Arsenal aren't likely to find a better option in the immediate future.
Gooners, would you be happy to see Diame join in the winter window? Leave a comment below and have your say...