Is a tough tackling Dutchman the answer to Arsenal’s midfield problems?

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Having finally put an end to the trophy drought that had plagued the club for almost a decade, Arsene Wenger now faces a delicate summer in a bid to turn his squad into title contenders ahead of next season.

A right-back and a world class striker are two of the areas Arsenal need to strengthen in, as Bacary Sagna is set to leave the club on a free transfer while Olivier Giroud is in desperate need of a striking partner or, at the very least, of a reliable back-up option.

Wenger, however, could also decide to bolster his options in midfield, an area where Arsenal suffered last season, particularly when injuries to Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere exposed the Gunners’ limitations in the engine room and AC Milan midfielder Nigel De Jong has emerged as a suprise target for the North Londoners.

With Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta both north of their 30th birthday and more inclined to create play rather than destroy it and given Abou Diaby’s recovery from a series of injuries is still in its fancy, Arsenal’s midfield often came out second best in physical battles last season.

The tough-tackling Dutchman would add muscles and dynamism to Arsenal’s engine room, much as he did during his spell at Manchester City and last season at AC Milan, where no other outfield player had a better passing percentage than him.

While not supremely gifted from a technical point of view, De Jong is a pivotal figure in Louis Van Gaal’s Holland, where he sits deep alongside Wesley Sneijder and Danny Blind in the Oranje’s traditional 4-3-3 and with Kevin Strootman absent in Brazil due to a knee injury, De Jong’s likely to play an even more important role as Holland look to negotiate a very difficult group which also includes Chile and Spain.

Should he join Arsenal, the De Jong could be deployed in a similar role, with one between Wilshere and Ramsey alongside him behind a trio of attacking midfielder comprising Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain or Theo Walcott.

Reports in today’s papers suggest that De Jong has grown disillusioned with life at AC Milan after Clarence Seedorf was sacked and while his disciplinary record might not match Arsene Wenger’s football philosophy, the Dutchman could be a shrewd piece of business ahead of next season.

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