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Gunners have Magpies midfielder Moussa Sissoko in their sights

Arsenal, odds-on at 4/7 with Coral for a top four finish, are interested in signing Newcastle United midfielder Moussa Sissoko in the January transfer window, according to reports in the weekend press.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is looking to use his French connections to lure midfield all-rounder Sissoko, 25, south from Tyneside. Despite a difficult start to the season under Alan Pardew, the Magpies’ upturn in form has come thanks to this player and bargain summer purchase Ayoze Perez.

Sissoko, capped 27 times by Les Bleus, saw red at Upton Park for two bookings, however, as the Toon Army witnessed their first defeat in eight across all competitions away to West Ham United. He will miss Newcastle’s next match away at Burnley as a result.

Although adept in box-to-box and advanced midfield roles, as well as being capable of operating on the wing, it is Sissoko’s combative qualities that are understood to have attracted Wenger’s interest.

Mikel Arteta, Arsenal’s club captain, and England international Jack Wilshere are both sidelined long-term after recently sustaining calf and ankle injuries. That just leaves Sissoko’s fellow Frenchman Mathieu Flamini available to anchor the Gunners midfield.

Because of Wenger, there is a contingent of players from across the Channel at the Emirates. Joining Flamini at Arsenal are France internationals Mathieu Debuchy (also currently out), Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny. Young striker Yaya Sanogo and injury-prone midfielder Abou Diaby complete the current first-team French flavour.

Speculation is also mounting that the Gunners are also interested in Sissoko’s former St James’ Park teammate Yohan Cabaye, who is struggling to make an impact back home with Ligue 1 champions PSG.

Under controversial Magpies owner Mike Ashley, the recruitment policy has involved purchasing overseas players and then selling on proven performers for a premium. Cabaye’s January exit from the Toon for a reported £19m is a prime example.

It is unlikely, however, that Arsenal could afford to recruit both him and Sissoko this winter, with reports suggesting there is just £20m left in frugal Wenger’s transfer budget for the current campaign. This follows big summer spending on Alexis Sanchez and others.

Defence is also a priority with a lack of cover concerning many commentators and Gunners fans. Sissoko, who joined Newcastle for just a reported £1.8m in January 2013, would definitely be the cheapest option mooted for Arsenal, 4/1 chances to win a major trophy this term, so far.