Arsenal have ended their interest in Chile international Arturo Vidal and are also yet to follow up an enquiry for Morgan Schneiderlin as Arsène Wenger reviews whether he still needs another central midfielder this summer.
A holding player had been his absolutely transfer priority in January and there were discussions then with Southampton about Schneiderlin but an asking price of £25 million, coupled with the form of Arsenal’s existing midfielders, has prompted a rethink.
Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla emerged as the first-choice pairing as Arsenal finished last season on the high of winning a second consecutive FA Cup. With Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mathieu Flamini and Tomas Rosicky also competing for those places, Wenger is still deciding whether he needs additional quality in that area.
The main issue is the defensive midfield role that is currently occupied by Coquelin. Arteta would be the natural back-up but he is still in negotiations about signing a new contract while Arsenal would also be open to offers for Flamini.
That essentially leaves only Wilshere, who performed strongly in that role for England, but has had significant injury problems and is seen as more of an attacking midfielder by Wenger. Juventus’s Vidal has been monitored closely over the past year but would be a similar profile of box-to-box player as Ramsey.
Schneiderlin is a specialist in the shielding role at Southampton but Manchester United have made an enquiry since the end of the season while Arsenal have gone quiet.
It could be that Arsenal will still enter the bidding, with Wenger overseeing a budget this summer of around £50 million. That includes wages and he has already spent £10 million on signing Petr Cech from Chelsea.
Wenger has also been tracking the two German brothers, Sven and Lars Bender. He may now wait until later in the window before making a final decision when he has had the chance to further assess his existing options during pre-season.