Arsenal's summer re-building project continues. The signing of German forward Lukas Podolski, for a fee of £11mn, was seen as a critical part of their plans, not only to strengthen their attacking line but also to convince club captain and talismanic striker Robin van Persie that the Gunners were serious about building a world-class squad.
Just as Arsene Wenger and his side were long linked to Podolski, they have been spoken about in connection with Ligue 1 club Rennes' defensive midfielder Yann M'Vila. An earlier IBTimes UK report suggested the player, who was valued by his club at £20mn, could be available for as little as £17mn, given Wenger's French connections.
The deal to bring M'Vila to the Emirates is gathering steam and according to a report in the Daily Mail, Arsenal have begun negotiations with the player's club and are increasingly confident about landing him, despite interest from other clubs such as Serie A's Inter Milan. However, the report understands that a critical factor in the move would be whether or not Arsenal are able to offer Champions League football for next season. There is another report, though, in The Sun, which suggests that may not be a deal-breaker. The latter report also talks about a £60,000 per week wage offer.
Arsene Wenger has, reportedly, also identified Blackburn's Candian winger Junior Hoilett as a possible signing, given the player is out of contract at the end of the season. Blackburn were relegated from the Premier League after losing to Wigan on Monday night. In addition, it is believed Arsenal have lined up the likes of Anderlecht's Lucas Biglia and Athletic Bilbao's Javi Martinez as replacement in case they fail to sign M'Vila.
Meanwhile, news that M'Vila was arrested for allegedly hitting a 17 year old boy has several questioning the 21 year old's temper and ability to handle pressure. Furthermore, this isn't the first time the Frenchman has been involved with the law. According to another report in the Daily Mail, in January 2010, M'Vila was once again arrested, this time for a road incident involving an unidentified restaurant owner.
A report in the Metro, following the recent incident, suggested that not only were Arsenal and Inter, who are reportedly ready to spend as much as £15mn, scouts at Rennes' 3-1 win over Ajaccio annoyed at the player's action but also the fact he asked to sit the game out.
"Yann has acknowledged that it was an inappropriate response but was provoked by the betrayal of the trust he gave to this young man. As it stands, no decision has been taken yet by the Rennes prosecutor on this case but the file will be forwarded to him within eight to 10 days," M'Vila's lawyer, Thierry Fillion, said to French newspaper L'Equipe.
Rennes are fifth in the French league, with 57 points from 35 games. The club is only three behind Lyon in the race for the Europa League spot, with three games remaining. According to a profile on ESPN, M'Vila is spoken about as tough-tackling and hard-working central midfielder who has an eye for passing and starting quick counter-attacks.