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The £15 million-rated Brazilian, who can play in central midfield or defence, is regarded as a proven candidate for the midfield anchorman hole left by Alex Song's departure

EXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Arsenal have identified Bayern Munich star Luiz Gustavo as a key midfield target for the summer, Goal.com understands.

The Gunners began closely tracking the £15million-rated Brazil international earlier in the season when he was struggling to get a regular starting spot at the German giants.

Arsenal made an enquiry for Gustavo but stopped short of making a January bid after learning that Bayern were unwilling to sell him in mid-season.

The 25-year-old once again features high on Arsene Wenger’s shopping list as the club begin assembling targets for the summer.

Gustavo is not expected to start for Bayern in the Champions League first-leg showdown at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night, with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez likely to be named as the German club’s central midfield pairing, but his versatility and experience has impressed Arsenal’s scouts.

The north Londoners are targeting a battle-hardened midfield anchorman who can fill the void left by the departure of Alex Song last summer.

Arsenal pulled out of a move for West Ham powerhouse Mohamed Diame last month after failing to be convinced he was better than the options they already had in central midfield, most notably Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Abou Diaby and Aaron Ramsey.

Gustavo is believed to be regarded more highly than Diame by Arsenal’s scouts, who have been instructed to continue watching him closely.

The Brazilian, whose Bayern contract runs until 2015, has featured in 17 matches for Bayern this season, although he was out for a month at the end of last year after undergoing groin surgery.

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