Keown: Chilean star Vidal will make Arsenal complete
Former Arsenal star Keown says signing midfielder Vidal would spark a title run
He played in one of the best sides in English club football, Arsenal's Invincibles, and was a regular fixture for the Gunners during the 1990s and the early 2000s.
Martin Keown forged a legendary central defensive partnership with Tony Adams under Arsene Wenger, winning three FA Cups and three Premier League titles with the Gunners, the last of which was in the 2003/04 season, when the team went unbeaten in the league.
That was also the last time the London side won English football's top prize.
The Arsenal faithful are desperate for a return to English football's summit, and many believe the upcoming season may well be the their time - especially after the signing of star goalkeeper Petr Cech from reigning champions Chelsea.
Keown believes Cech is a crucial piece of the jigsaw, but says a versatile midfielder like Chile's Arturo Vidal will make Arsenal complete.
Speaking to The New Paper via a conference call from London ahead of the Barclays Asia Trophy, which will be held at the National Stadium from July 15 to 18, Keown said: "(Mesut) Oezil and (Alexis) Sanchez are the pick of the bunch at Arsenal, but they're attacking players.
"What Arsenal have always needed, and what's been talked about for the longest time, is someone solid in midfield - an enforcer.
"We've got a new goalkeeper in Petr Cech, so that's huge. It's big news.
"But it's interesting to see how Arsenal build on that transfer. I'd like to see what else they do in the transfer market until the start of the season (on Aug 8)."
Keown says a world-class defensive midfielder would be a "dream signing" for Arsenal, and it is not surprising view.
During his time at the club, Keown had the likes of Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit and Gilberto Silva in front of him as a midfield shield.
"People say we need a new striker, but I think our options are good enough in (Olivier) Giroud and (Danny) Welbeck.
"My dream signing would be Arturo Vidal from Juventus and, from what he's done over the last few years at Juventus, and at the ongoing Copa America with Chile, you can see why," said the 48-year-old Englishman.
"He's a man for every occasion.
"He can play at the tip of the midfield, he can be in the thick of things in the engine room, and he can even play in defence if you asked him to.
"He's not a pure defensive midfielder, but he can track back, tackle and dictate play, and that's what's needed when you play in that position."
"Compare him with another Arsenal target in (Southampton's Morgan) Schneiderlin, I think Vidal would be an even better deal, with his cheaper price and experience."
The 2015 Barclays Asia Trophy will feature Arsenal, Everton, Stoke and a Singapore Selection. Everton will take on Stoke in the first match of a double-header on July 15, with the Singapore side taking on the Gunners in the evening kick-off.
The two winners will face off in the final on July 18.
This will be the seventh edition of the biennial tournament, which began in 2003, and Keown said: "I think it'll be a thrilling tournament, because you've got three top-drawer teams coming out to play.
"You've got Arsenal, obviously the outstanding candidates, then there's Everton, who play some good football.
"And not forgetting Stoke, who are of the rugged and industrious variety.
"So it's going to be an interesting two days, and a good precursor to the upcoming league season."
If you want me to say I like Arturo Vidal, yes I like Arturo Vidal. Are we in a transfer mode? I say, no.
— Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Keown: 'Live' football always good
In May, three then-Leicester City players - Tom Hopper, Adam Smith and the son of ex-manager Nigel Pearson, James - were involved in a shocking video where they engaged in sex acts and racially abused Thai women during the club's post-season tour of the country.
Later that month, Tottenham Hostpur travelled to Malaysia to play a friendly match, in a move that was greeted with strong opposition by local fans.
Some supporters boycotted the fixture at the Shah Alam Stadium after it disrupted the national team's preparations for the 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers.
Fans criticised the friendly as merely a money-making venture by a foreign club, and Malaysian supporters' group Ultras Malaya brought the uproar online, creating the Twitter account hashtag #SayNoToCircusGames.
But speaking to The New Paper via a conference call ahead of the Barclays Asia Trophy, former Arsenal star Martin Keown insisted that pre-season tours by EPL clubs are not just attempts to milk an adoring South-east Asian audience.
"For football fans, watching your team 'live' is always a special experience," said Keown (above).
"This Barclays Asia Trophy gives fans that opportunity to see their idols in the flesh, and watch high-level football.
"It's a chance for people from the region to gather together and enjoy the authentic Barclays Premier League experience for themselves."
Barclays Asia Trophy
Arsenal, Everton, Stoke and Singapore Selection.
July 15 and July 18. Matches at 6pm and 8.30pm.
Ticket prices for July 15 range from $25 (Cat 4, child) to $145 (Cat 1). Prices for July 18 are from $28 to $155.
Tickets can be bought at www.sportshubtix.sg, the box office at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and all SingPost outlets.