Arsenal will be locked in battle with Premier League rivals United and Chelsea for the signature of Joao Moutinho in January, according to the Daily Star.
The 28-year old Portuguese midfielder is believed to be one of the most technically balanced midfielders in the game, being able to play as a deep-lying holding midfielder or in a bit more advanced role as a box-to-box player.
He had been linked with Premier League sides such as Everton and Tottenham in the past but no such deal eventually came through. It could, however happen, in the near future – the coming transfer window precisely – as the big clubs are getting ready to add more firepower to their teams.
Chelsea boss, Jose Mourinho, is believed to be keen on landing his fellow countryman to further sure up his midfield. Mourinho saw his Chelsea team witness their first defeat of the season last weekend at the hands of Newcastle and that could have been attributed to the absence of trusted midfield enforcer Nemanja Matic who missed the game due to the five-yellows suspension. With the deputizer Mikel Obi not proving a dependable replacement, Moutinho could fill that void for Mourinho.
United have also been hot on the ex-Porto man’s tails, and the possibility of him moving to Old Trafford could be made easier as the same man responsible for brokering both deals which saw Di Maria and Falcao move to England, Jorge Mendes, is also Moutinho’s agent. The Old Trafford bosses know it will be difficult to convince Roma to let go off Kevin Strootman, even as their chances of signing Vidal are also slim.
Moutinho has been a central figure to Leonadro Jardim’s midfield this season, playing in all games of the season so far and though he is usually deployed as a deep lying playmaker, he managed to score the winner in Monaco’s first Champions League game for a decade (since their appearance at the Final in 2004) against Bayern Leverkusen.
Monaco’s financial predicaments have made it inevitable that they will lose a good number of the star players they had acquired over the past two seasons, to ease off on the pressure mounting from losses. Having let go of both Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez last summer, Moutinho could be the latest allowed to leave, though his fee will be significantly lower than those commanded by the Colombian duo.
Arsenal is in clear need of a new strong and powerful defensive midfielder who has both the personality and technical ability to provide an adequate shield for the back four.
As Flamini has not been able to live up to expectation since his return and Arteta on his last legs, Moutinho could be that dependable midfield coordinator whom we’ve needed to balance the strength of our attack with the safety of the rearguard.
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