Arsenal stepping up bid for Ligue 1 maestro

Reports are mounting around the immediate future of Montpellier playmaker Younes Belhanda after it emerged that Arsenal were increasing their interest in signing the midfielder.

The Morroccan international could also swap places with one of his compatriots too, with a swap deal for Arsenal’s wantaway striker Marouane Chamakh becoming a possibility.

Belhanda has been just one of the stars in Montpellier’s breakout season that currently sees them sitting at the summit of Ligue 1, above big-spenders PSG.

Arsene Wenger’s side continue to be linked with Belhanda’s teammate, Olivier Giroud, however the need to sign a player in the mould of Belhanda could be a more immediate one.

A lot will rest on whether or not the North London club manage to tie Robin van Persie down to a new deal which is still anyone’s guess.

However, if the Dutchman does pen an extension, defence and midfield reinforcements will become bigger priorities.

Many critics say that the Gunners still haven’t fully recovered from the 2011 losses of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri and will be hoping that the creative talents of Belhanda will go a long way towards solving that issue.

Belhanda has made 25 appearances for La Paillade this season, scoring five goals and registering five assists in the process.

Fellow countryman Chamakh hasn’t been the hit at the Emirates Stadium that everyone pegged him to be and numerous clubs are thought to be interested in taking him back to the French top flight for a fee of around £7m.

It was recently announced that Borussia Dortmund starlet Mario Goetze had signed a contrat extension at the Westfalenstadion, making him an unlikely target for clubs this summer.

Should this fee be accurate, a swap deal would mean that Arsenal could pay as little as £5m for Belhanda, joining an already strong French contingent at the side.

Tom is one of our most experienced contributors, with over a decade of online publishing. A Man Utd fan, Thomas brings you all the latest news from UK football.

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