Arsenal have been linked with a January move for £10m-rated Bayern Munich midfielder Luis Gustavo. The Mirror's report states the Brazilian is expected to replace Cameroon midfielder Alex Song in the Gunners' starting line-up. Arsene Wenger does have French international Abou Diaby for that role but given the 26-year-old midfielder's injury problems, Wenger has little option but look for cover elsewhere. The Emirates club have also been linked with West Ham midfielder Mohamed Diame.
Gustavo, 25, moved to the Allianz Arena in January last year but has failed to establish himself in the Bundesliga club's starting line-up and with the possibility of representing his country at the 2014 World Cup fast fading, he may be eager for a fresh chance to prove himself. In addition, the arrival of Basque midfielder Javi Martinez from La Liga club Athletic Bilbao in the summer has further increased competition in Germany, leading to disagreements with manager Jupp Heynckes.
The Gunners do have a number of midfield options in Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin. But the lack of an anchorman and a defensive screen for the back line means more creative players like Cazorla, Wilshere or Arteta are being forced to track back more often than ideal.
The north London club were linked, by Goal.com, with a move for Frenchman Yann M'Vila, who plays with Ligue 1 club Rennes but ultimately nothing emerged from the connections. Wenger was also linked, by the Mirror, with a surprise move for Chelsea legend Frank Lampard; the veteran is out of contract in the summer and increasingly unlikely to sign an extension at Stamford Bridge.
Clarke Hits Out at Referees
Meanwhile, West Brom boss Steve Clarke has criticised referee Mike Jones for rewarding a dive by Cazorla with a penalty. The former Villarreal playmaker convinced Jones he had been fouled in the box by Steven Reid but replays showed the Spanish international faked the whole incident.
"There was zero contact - it wasn't even close. I am not sure what the referee saw. It was a bad decision for us and obviously changed the shape of the afternoon. It could have been a nervous afternoon for Arsenal. At 0-0 they hadn't created too much," the former Chelsea assistant fumed, adding, "We knew the longer the game went the more pressure would come on Arsenal and then we would have a chance. That decision changed it."
However, Clarke did also admit the second penalty (Arsenal beat West Brom 2-0 at the Emirates) was a clear foul.