Arsenal are in negotiations with Olympique Lyon over a transfer for French international Maxime Gonalons. The Metro believes the 23-year-old will be the long overdue replacement for Cameroon midfielder Alex Song and he will take over from perennially injured compatriot Abou Diaby. Gonalons should be available for £15m.
Arsene Wenger has been tracking Gonalons for about a year now and the Metro earlier reported the Gunners had scouts at both legs of Lyon's UEFA Europa League tie against north London rivals Tottenham. Gonalons has three goals from 31 Ligue 1 games and has made a total of 38 appearances (all starts) this season.
The midfielder is aware of interest from the Emirates and has been quoted as saying he "likes the English leagues", leading to speculation that any approach from Wenger could be successful, even if he shares a difficult relationship with Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas. Talks are likely to take some time though, given Gonalons is contracted to the club until 2016 and Lyon are in no great financial distress.
Santi Cazorla on Manchester United Game
Meanwhile, Arsenal playmaker Santi Cazorla wants his side to focus on possession, when they host Premier League champions Manchester United on Sunday afternoon. The Spain international called for an improvement in performance after the poor showing in a earlier game between the sides, when United ran out 2-1 winners at Old Trafford.
"If we have the ball, we're definitely going to hurt them. If we don't, it'll be the reverse. They'll cause us problems because they have a lot of quality and when given space they can threaten us. We need to force them back and not give them time on the ball," the former Villarreal star explained.
"It wasn't a good game for us [at Old Trafford].We didn't play very well and made life hard for ourselves right at the start with van Persie scoring within five minutes," Cazorla told www.arsenal.com.
The Gunners need all three points from this game, in order to maintain third place in the league table and ensure qualification to the Champions League next season. They face competition from London rivals Chelsea and Spurs for the two remaining spots and only two points separate the three sides.
Spurs drew 2-2 with Wigan on Saturday and Chelsea host Swansea City just before kick-off at the Emirates.