Arsenal have earmarked Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye as the man to address their defensive flaws this summer after Arsene Wenger admitted in an interview that the Gunners were being punished this season for their inability to defend as a team. Gueye has been an ever-present figure for the Toffees this season and could emulate the influence made by N'Golo Kante at Chelsea with his reading of the game and defensive prowess.
The Mirror reports that Wenger has already been planning for next season despite not publicly making any declarations over his contract situation. The Frenchman's contract with the north London club expires this summer, but there is optimism in the ranks that he will extend beyond the end of the season and leave the Gunners in a stable situation before finally announcing his departure.
Gueye's work rate has been among the major factors in Everton's impressive form since the turn of the year after signing from Aston Villa last summer where he was relegated, mostly down to the failure of the entire team as a collective. The Senegalese international will slot right into the Gunners midfield alongside Granit Xhaka or Aaron Ramsey, with Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny moving to the bench.
The 27-year-old has attracted interest from a lot of clubs, including Manchester United, with Jose Mourinho looking for a midfield hardman to alleviate the pressure on Paul Pogba and allow him to play further up the pitch. Spanish giants Sevilla and Valencia along with German duo RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen are also interested in procuring his services.
Speaking to the press ahead of their clash against Manchester City, Wenger emphasised the need to defend as a team and make the remaining 11 league games count as they look to end the season on a high.
"Our offensive numbers are good. Our defensive numbers are less convincing. And that is not down to the defenders only. It is down to the balance of the team between going forward and defending. But it is true that our offensive numbers are quite convincing," Wenger elaborated on Arsenal's defensive problems on the official website.
"I am still convinced they have the right character, and it's a good moment to show it. As well, the self-esteem of a group is not set in stone. It's linked as well with the last results.