Victor Wanyama to Arsenal could make sense for Koeman and Southampton
Ronald Koeman will be hoping Arsenal transfer target Victor Wanyama shows the Gunners what they are missing at St Mary's on Saturday, but has the time come for Southampton to cash in on the Kenyan?
Southampton supporters must be sick and tired of Wanyama being linked with a move away from the south coast every time a transfer window comes around.
And the midfield powerhouse hardly endeared himself to the fans by issuing a transfer request when Tottenham began casting admiring glances in his direction during the summer.
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Koeman was even forced to leave Wanyama in the stands for Southampton's 3-0 win over Norwich in August after he declared himself "not physically or mentally prepared."
Despite assurances to the contrary, the suspicion is it would not take too much to unsettle him again when the market opens in January.
This time, Tottenham's north London rivals are likely to be his main suitors, with the long-term absence of the influential Francis Coquelin a potential stumbling block in their attempts to win their first Premier League title in 12 years.
Wanyama has been open to a move to Arsenal in the past and said in April: "Wenger has been talking about me. He has let it be known he would like to sign me this summer.
"Arsenal are a great club and I'd love to play Champions League football as I loved being on that stage with Celtic."
As "come and get me" pleas go it was hardly subtle and with Southampton struggling for form, nobody would be surprised to see Wanyama's head turned once again.
Like many of his teammates, he has been powerless to halt his side's recent six-match winless streak, which has seen them plummet down the Premier League table.
There is no argument Wanyama has missed playing alongside his midfield partner Morgan Schneiderlin. The duo formed a formidable double-act as Southampton finished seventh last season with a club record Premier League points tally. Schneiderlin's replacement, Jordy Clasie, does not yet possess the same skill-set as his French international predecessor and this has left Wanyama badly exposed.
The African visibly downed tools in the second half of Southampton's 6-1 Capital One Cup quarterfinal defeat at home to Liverpool earlier this month, which will be a cause for concern for Koeman. His body language in recent weeks suggests has become disillusioned, perhaps feeling Southampton can no longer satisfy his ambitions of playing European football.
After all, Wanyama made his name playing big Champions League games against the likes of Barcelona under the floodlights at Celtic Park. He has also had to sit and watch many of his teammates depart St Mary's to join England's elite clubs and the longer he stays, the more chance there is of him being left on the shelf.
It may be hard for their loyal fans to accept but Southampton are regarded as a stepping stone club. Even Koeman has admitted he will need to leave for pastures new to feed his hunger for winning major trophies.
When Wanyama become the club's then-record signing in July 2013 after completing a £12.5million switch from Celtic he would already have been eyeing his next big-money move.
Koeman has publicly insisted he will not be forced to sell any more of his assets, especially with genuine concerns that stuttering Southampton could be dragged into the relegation scrap.
But a £20m deal with Arsenal would allow Koeman to bring in the striker Southampton badly need to help kick-start this season -- and a midfield replacement -- so perhaps it is not such an unthinkable prospect after all.
Alex Crook is ESPN FC's Southampton blogger. Follow him on Twitter @alex_crook