The Felipe Melo transfer from Fiorentina seems to be crystallizing around the club's condition that Emmanuel Eboue be part of the deal. In lieu, the Violas bring down Melo's expensive buyout clause which stands at £21 million.
This would be a great deal. Eboue has been unhappy with his lack of playing time and when he has come on the pitch, has not utilized it well. Wenger tried harnessing the Cote' d'Ivoirian attacking instincts from that of a full back to a winger when Walcott had still not broken into the first squad. This worked for a while but with Walcott's inclusion into the first squad and then Bacary Sagna's arrival found Eboue sitting on the bench a lot this lseason. Eboue has great speed and good foot skills which lead him far up field but he does not do enough to track back, has average tackling skills, and questionable judgement. I have this rorschach of Eboue as a petulant player always complaining with the referee.
Melo's arrival will bring a robust presence and a burgeoning reputation as a smart holding midfielder allowing Wenger the an opportunity to transform Thomas Vermaelen's center back role to that of second holding midfielder in an effort to resurrect the Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Vieira midfield tandem which brought instant success with Arsenal winning the double in 1997.
There is a crimp in the horizon with the Arsenal deal and it has to do with a competing proposal that is being floated for a similar transfer arrangement for Melo to Juventus where his holding abilities is seen as a perfect foil for the creative abilities of Diego, his Brazilian team mate. In exchange, Juve is proposing the services of winger Marco Marchionni and 12 million euros. It is believed that Cesare Prandelli is keen on bringing Marchionni to the Violas and the player could be the sweetener to the Melo deal.
Update: Pantaleo Corvino, Fiorentina's sporting director has denied reports that Melo has signed with Juventus but there are indications that some sort of deal is being worked out. According to Gazzetta Calcio, Marchionni's agent Bruno Carpeggianni will meet Corvino early next week to work out details of the contract.