x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Arsenal are forced into action as transfer deadline looms

Arsene Wenger is looking to recruit players in four positions, and has been in touch with Yossi Benayoun.

Arsene Wenger has reportedly been in touch with Yossi Benayoun of Chelsea.
Arsene Wenger has reportedly been in touch with Yossi Benayoun of Chelsea.

Arsenal have responded to their 8-2 Old Trafford humiliation by rushing into the transfer market to reinforce a severely stretched squad. The Premier League club is working to complete as many as four deals by deadline day tomorrow with Arsene Wenger even preparing to deviate from his standard recruitment policy by signing a player in his 30s.

Wenger is considering a large cohort of targets in four positions - left back, centre back, central midfield and attack - with several negotiations ongoing.

Last night he was close to completing purchase of Brazil defender Andre Santos from Fenerbahce. South Korea striker Park Chu-young also concluded his £3 million (Dh18.04m) move from AS Monaco.

On Sunday evening the Arsenal manager called Yossi Benayoun to discuss the 31-year-old’s interest in leaving Chelsea for his club. Benayoun, who has been deemed surplus to requirements by Andre Villas-Boas, the new Chelsea manager, said yesterday that he was "negotiating with several teams" and would have "news soon".

The Israeli playmaker has drawn interest from former club Liverpool - who are looking at other experienced options in attack, including Craig Bellamy - and French champions Lille, whom he is understood to be most likely to join.

Wenger is also contemplating an offer for Alex, the Brazilian central defender, who is known to be open to a move away from Stamford Bridge if it secured him regular first-team football. Arsenal's thinking with Alex is to add an aerially strong individual capable of bolstering their defence at venues such as Stoke and Blackburn.

While Gary Cahill remains one of four candidates for that role, Arsenal remain unimpressed with Bolton Wanderers' description of their initial bid for the England international as "derisory".

Contrary to initial reports, that offer was for an initial £8 million (Dh48m) with another £1m payable once Cahill had played 50 games. Further performance-related payments could have taken Bolton's income above £11m for a player who has one year remaining on his current contract, albeit with an option for a further season.

At left back, Wenger has decided against a formal approach for Everton's consistently impressive Leighton Baines, deciding to offer Kieran Gibbs the opportunity to establish himself in the position once the 21 year old recovers from injury. With Armand Traore permitted to undergo a medical at Queens Park Rangers yesterday, Arsenal were working to complete the signing of an overseas-based defender. There were also details to complete on the £3m purchase of South Korea striker Park Chu-young from AS Monaco.

Having sold Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri for fees worth over €60m (Dh320m), recruitment in central midfield is of particular importance but is proving problematic with Sochaux and Rennes insisting on taking a significant proportion of that income to sell France internationals Marvin Martin and Yann M'Vila. The latter would also be unavailable for the group stages of the Champions League having played Europa League football for Rennes already this season.

Considered by many as the most impressive talent in German football, Mario Goetze has been the subject of a recent offer only for Borussia Dortmund to respond by asking €35m for the 19 year old.

Goetze is understood to be happy to stay with the Bundesliga champions for one additional season before moving to Spain or England next summer. Wenger has failed to pursue his initial inquiry for Mikel Arteta, a decision that has frustrated the Everton midfielder.

"We are working hard to sign players," said Wenger who has been angered by criticism of Arsenal's recruitment efforts. " If we find the right players, we sign them. We have the money to sign them if they strengthen our team. We have 20 people to work on that."

Wenger is also under pressure from Stan Kroenke to spend impressively. Arsenal's new owner has been concerned by growing dissent among the club's support and falling demand for seats at the Emirates Stadium.

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