Arsene Wenger preparing for African Cup of Nations departures from Emirates Stadium in January.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is preparing a £10million bid for Toulouse midfielder Etienne Capoue.
Wenger had been tracking Yann M’Vila but has been forced to come up with a plan B due to the £25m price tag on the Rennes star and confirmed interest from big-spending Manchester City.
Capoue, 23, joined Toulouse on a youth contract in 2005 after the club beat Lille, Auxerre and Bordeaux to his signature.
He made his full debut at the end of 2007 and his current contract runs until 2014.
Lazio have been keeping a close eye on 6ft 2in Capoue and Barcelona had him on a list of alternatives during their long pursuit of former Gunners skipper Cesc Fabregas.
Capoue, with three goals to his name this season, plays as a defensive midfielder but is also comfortable at the back.
He has represented France up to Under 21 level.
SOURCE: Daily Mail
Etienne Capoue has improved a great deal in the last two seasons, but he would clearly be a cut-price alternative to Rennes’ 21 year-old defensive midfielder Yann M’Vila.
M’Vila has become a mainstay of the senior France team despite his relative inexperience – even breaking passing records for his country along the way.
Arsene Wenger is well aware that he will lose the likes of Alex Song and Gervinho for the Africa Cup of Nations, while Marouane Chamakh and Emmanuel Frimpong are also possibile call-ups for their country.
This means that he will almost certainly enter the January transfer market, with a defensive midfielder and forward likely to be at the top of his list.
Perhaps if Rennes or Toulouse drop back into midtable in Ligue 1, either M’Vila or Capoue will elect to leave – which would dramatically strengthen Arsenal’s position with regard to a transfer.