Moussa Sissoko
Newcastle United midfielder Moussa Sissoko is being targeted by Arsenal Getty

Arsenal have stepped up their interest in Newcastle midfielder Moussa Sissoko and have earmarked him as the answer to their problems in defensive midfield, according to French publication L'Equipe.

The Gunners are in the market for a midfielder to cover for Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta, with both their contracts set to expire in the summer. Sissoko, who plays in an advanced role at Newcastle, is conversant with the holding role during his time at Toulouse.

His strength and drive from midfield will be a real asset for the north London club, who have been caught out for their lack of physicality in the middle this season.

Sissoko, whose contract expires in 2019, is expected to be available for a fee in the range of €20m, a decent investment for a player with Premier League experience. With Arsenal still in the Champions League, it will be a lucrative proposition for Sissoko, who has been among Magpies' best players this season.

With the departure of Alan Pardew and the uncertainty surrounding the club, an Arsenal interest in the midfielder may force the player to consider his long term future.

The Gunners are also reportedly keeping an eye on Real Madrid's Sami Khedira, whose contract expires in the summer but will have to fend off competition from Bayern Munich, who lead the race for the German.

Sissoko's arrival will help add some physicality in Arsenal's otherwise frail midfield, which shall see the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil being incorporated into the side in the coming days.

The Frenchman's presence in midfield will allow Arsenal's creative players to burst forward and play without inhibition, thus giving the Gunners an edge going forward, which they have failed to otherwise portray this season.

The Gunners are currently sixth in the league, three points behind Southampton for a top four spot.