Emirates Stadium boss keen on player not many will be familiar with.
After Arsenal’s latest silverware free season, it seems that Arsene Wenger has finally conceded that he must spend to keep the fans happy.
After being linked with top names such as Gervinho of Ligue 1 champions Lille and Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema it seems a big name signing is almost a guarantee this summer.
But amongst the high profile names linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium, there lurks a certain unknown Uzbekistan midfielder, who goes by the name of Odil Ahmedov.
Gunners fans could be forgiven for greeting this transfer speculation with anything but eagerness, but in truth there is plenty to get excited about.
Although Ahmedov is relatively unknown in Europe, in his home continent of Asia, he is regarded as one of the great prospects. Already national team captain at the age of 23, Ahmedov’s all action displays have seen his reputation skyrocket over the past two seasons, leading to speculation linking him with a permanent move away from his homeland.
Although permanently contracted to Pakhtakor Tashkent in his native Uzbekistan, he has recently moved on loan to ambitious Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, who have also signed Brazilian legend Roberto Carlos and PSV Eindhoven’s Balazs Dzsudzsak. Despite this move, the head of the UFF (Uzbekistan football federation) Mirabor Usmanov has claimed that Arsenal are tracking the midfielder, who has previously been linked to Bolton Wanderers.
So what would Arsenal be getting for their money, if they press on with a move?
Ahmedov who operates in the defensive midfield role is widely described as the complete midfielder within the Asian footballing community, thanks to his physical presence, tough tackling approach and ferocious shot.
These characteristics have led to him becoming a key member of the Uzbek national set-up, along with former Chelsea target Server Djeparov, in what has been dubbed as the ‘golden generation’. As well as his technical abilities, versatility is another ace the young Uzbek has up his sleeve. Thanks to his six foot frame and ability to read the game, Ahmedov has been known to fill in as an emergency centre-half, most notably in the 2011 Asian Championships, where Uzbekistan eventually finished 4th.
It was these performances according to the UFF’s Mirabor Usmanov (no relation to Arsenal major shareholder Alisher Usmanov, also from Uzbekistan) that caught the eye of Wenger, as he looks to add some steely resilience to his young, creative midfield: “Such a flattering offer from the English club was possible thanks to the successful performance of the Uzbekistan team at the 2011 Asian Cup.”
Although he may not be the high profile signing that the fans are calling for, the robust midfield man could really add a new dimension to Arsenal’s midfield.
Follow Alex Hams on Twitter @alex_hams