Arsenal look to strengthen squad with defensive midfield ace

Arsenal are contemplating a loan move for Real Madrid defensive midfielder Asier Illarramendi in January after attempts to sign their primary target Sami Khedira look to have fallen through.

Khedira – who also plays in Spain for Real – was strongly linked with a move to the Emirates and had reportedly looked set to move to the North London club in the new year, however Premier League rivals Manchester United are now believed to be in the hot seat for his signature.

This has forced the Gunners to look elsewhere for January reinforcements, and Illarramendi has now emerged as their preferred defensive midfield target.

The Spaniard joined the European champions from Real Sociedad for £25 million last season, and although Real will be hoping to recoup what they paid for him, Arsenal are currently interested in a loan deal in January with a possible permanent transfer in the summer.

AC Milan and Liverpool also have their eyes on Illarramendi, which means that Arsene Wenger will have to act quickly if he wants to see the Spanish international at the Emirates in January.