Thursday 22 February 2018

Wenger eyes Chelsea pair as Gunners loosen purse strings

Jason Burt

ARSENAL will today decide whether to make a move for Chelsea pair Alex and Yossi Benayoun, and will also push ahead with a renewed bid for Rennes midfielder Yann M'Vila.

The Gunners will also complete the signings of defenders Per Mertesacker and Andre Santos as manager Arsene Wenger hastily overhauls his squad after the traumatic start to the season.

In what is expected to be a hectic transfer deadline day at the club, Wenger -- who has an £80m war-chest -- wants at least one more signing to add to the arrival of striker Chu-Young Park, Mertesacker and Santos, and is hoping for more.

It's understood that Arsenal had a second bid of £8m plus add-ons for Bolton's Gary Cahill rejected in the last two days. Chelsea may move for Cahill, who is also wanted by Tottenham, should they sell Alex. Christopher Samba did not train with Blackburn yesterday and there were suggestions last night that he was in London for talks with Wenger.

Brazilian international Santos (28) is arriving from Turkish club Fenerbahce for around £6.2m, while Park (26) will cost between £3m and £5m after the Premier League club effectively hijacked his move to Lille over the weekend.

The former Asian footballer of the year failed to turn up for the second part of his medical at Lille, diverting instead to London.

If secured, M'Vila will cost Arsenal more than £20m, which will beat the previous club record, paid for Andrey Arshavin.

Tottenham are expected to be one of the busier clubs ahead of tonight's 11.0 deadline. Scott Parker yesterday handed in a transfer request at West Ham, who have signed Papa Bouba Diop, and Harry Redknapp said he does not "envisage too many problems now" in bringing in the England midfielder. He could yet be joined at White Hart Lane by Joe Cole, who is also wanted by QPR, although Lille remains his most likely destination.

The future of Peter Crouch is less clear. The striker has twice rejected a move to Stoke City but still seems likely to leave Spurs.

Sunderland have emerged as the latest suitors -- Crouch would be Steve Bruce's 10th signing of the window.

Chelsea, meanwhile, will not give up on their pursuit of Luka Modric until the transfer window closes, with speculation growing that Tottenham are ready to finally relent and sell the wantaway midfielder for £40m.

Liverpool last night completed the signing of Uruguay defender Sebastian Coates after signing the 20-year-old "on a long-term contract". (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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