Arsene Wenger has revealed that he is in the market for a new centre-back with Premier League experience this month, with a move for former Gunners defender Matthew Upson under consideration.
The Arsenal manager will look at a loan signing first but is weighing up a move for Upson, who is out of contract at West Ham in the summer and will not sign another deal.
It is unlikely that Upson (31) would sign for anything less than a two-year deal but with so little on the market -- at a fee Arsenal would be prepared to pay -- Wenger's hand may be forced.
The Frenchman admitted yesterday that he is under pressure to sign a replacement who is "adapted to English football" and can hit the ground running, so great is his need.
It comes after Wenger announced yet another set-back in the rehabilitation from injury of Thomas Vermaelen, who has been out of action since August.
"We are consulting top specialists in the world," said Wenger.
"Unfortunately, I cannot give you any precise date. We are at the moment, I concede, with that little setback with Thomas in a situation where we will have to look around.
"We always have people in mind and we check (them) out. We look everywhere. It's difficult to find (players) at this period of the season."
Wenger is also without Sebastien Squillaci for a minimum of two weeks, which leaves him badly short of cover in a team that is challenging in all three domestic competitions and face Barcelona in the Round of 16 in the Champions League.
Blackburn Rovers' unsettled captain Chris Samba and Bolton's England international Gary Cahill are both thought to cost beyond what Arsenal would be willing to pay.
Arsenal face Ipswich Town tonight at Portman Road in the first leg of their Carling Cup semi-final tie.
As by far the strongest club left in the competition, the Carling Cup represents Arsenal's best chance of a trophy this season and Wenger conceded that his team were favourites tonight.
"The pressure is on Arsenal and they (Ipswich) have nothing to lose," he said.
"That is part of being at Arsenal, to deal with that, and I accept that completely." (© Independent News Service)
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