ARSENE Wenger has made reinforcing the holding midfield position one of his transfer priorities this summer, with France international Yann M'Vila and Anderlecht captain Lucas Biglia on his radar.
While the form of Alex Song has delighted the Arsenal manager, he also realises his side lack experienced cover in this position and both M'Vila and Biglia are being monitored.
M'Vila is understood to be the preferred option and has been watched by Arsenal scouts this month, with Rennes already resigned to losing their star player at the end of the season.
Aged 21 and with 18 France caps, M'Vila is regarded among the best young midfielders in Europe but is also being tracked by Real Madrid and Inter Milan. Rennes would value M'Vila at around £17m, which would break Arsenal's transfer record, but the fear is that the price could be driven up even further by the competing interest of Real Madrid.
Although Arsenal have no shortage of emerging central midfielders, the concern is that Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky and Abou Diaby are all players who also like to push forward.
Song's defensive qualities have made him a regular over the past four seasons -- and he is likely to be offered a significantly improved contract later this year -- but there has been a lack of obvious cover.
Emmanuel Frimpong and Francis Coquelin are both highly promising but largely still unproven. The addition of a player such as M'Vila would also give Wenger the option of sometimes playing with two holding midfielders.
If M'Vila becomes too expensive, Arsenal will also consider making an offer for Biglia, an Argentine international who has helped Anderlecht to win five trophies over the past six years.
Arsenal have already agreed terms with Cologne on the £11m signing of Lukas Podolski.