x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Arsenal's Wenger considers splashing out on Gary Cahill

Arsene Wenger is considering making a bid for Gary Cahill, the Bolton Wanderers defender, to strengthen his side's backline before the transfer window closes.

LONDON // Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, is weighing up whether to spend big money to sign Bolton Wanderers centre-half Gary Cahill - but will not be held to ransom to secure the deal.

With just five days of the transfer window to go Wenger has recognised that he may have to relax his hard rules on a player's transfer value to make a significant addition to his squad in the pursuit of the club's first silverware for six years.

With Thomas Vermaelen likely to be out of action for longer than expected the Gunners need to add quality at the heart of the defence having booked their place in the Carling Cup final by beating Ipswich Town 3-0 on Tuesday.

Cahill has been Wenger's number one choice for some time, but Bolton's optimistic £20 million (Dh116.6m) valuation has meant that a deal has been a long way off over the past three weeks, especially as Arsenal initially indicated they thought the player was worth £8m.

But in what has become a bidding game it seems Wenger, who has become almost obsessively frugal when it comes to transfer fees, understands he will have to pay more than his original valuation to get Cahill.

"Is it a case of us having to push the boat out to get a player we might want at this stage? It's a good question," admitted Wenger. "We are well placed in the Premier League and are also involved in the three other trophies.

"Over the next few days I have to decide whether we need that bit extra to the squad to help us given the demands on the squad and what might happen with injuries.

"You have to be careful not to pay too much for a player but also you have to look at a price and see what in the long term it can bring."

Given Cahill is 25 then even a deal moving closer to Bolton's top end valuation could still be a good investment, but while Wenger is ready to pay over the odds he will hesitate at going over the top.

That is why yesterday Arsenal's attentions turned on Paris St-Germain's Mamada Sakho.

Last night it was being reported in France that the Gunners could be on the verge of signing Sakho for £12m.

But Wenger's dilemma over the player is whether he would be ready be thrust into high octane football in the Premier and Champions League, which brings him back to Cahill.

Bolton look to be ready to off load Cahill after signing an obvious replacement in David Wheater from Middlesbrough.

Wenger admitted: "I think Gary Cahill is a very good player, but I cannot tell you more at the moment."

But Wenger believes his squad can cope, even if no fresh blood is added before the end of the month.

"It is a worry as long as Sebastien Squillaci as well as Vermaelen is out, I must say, as we are short, but we have other resources," he said. "If the worst came to the worst, Abou Diaby is coming back so if we have to put Alex Song back we have Diaby coming back to play in midfield."


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