Khamis, 25 Ogos 2011

Arsenal's target to strenghten their squad

GARY CAHILL | Bolton, Defender, 25
Appearances 41
Clean Sheets 8
Goals 3
Price tag £17m
Chances of signing 40%
He's a little bit like Tony Adams
This deal has been such a slow burner that it hasnow all but ground to a halt. The Bolton Wanderers centre-back has long been identified by Arsenal as a Premier League-ready centre-back who has the physical qualities that they currently lack.

The two clubs held talks earlier in the window but were unable to come to an agreement over the transfer fee, even though Cahill wants a move to a Champions League club and cash-strapped Wanderers are in danger of losing the England international to a free transfer next summer.

Arsenal are reluctant to smash their transfer record and meet the £17 million release clause in Cahill’s contract. It is believed they value the defender at around the £12-13m mark.

With Arsene Wenger’s requirement for a reliable centre-half still pressing, a concerted move for the 25-year-old still cannot be discounted.

SCOTT DANN | Birmingham City, Defender, 24
Appearances 25
Clean sheets 6
Goals 2
Price tag £8m
Chances of signing 60%
He's a little bit like Martin Keown

Of Arsenal’s centre-back targets, the Birmingham man is the most likely to move to Emirates Stadium by the end of the window.

As revealed by earlier this month, Arsenal were in advanced talks with Birmingham but have stopped short of submitting a formal bid for the 24-year-old.

It is understand that doubts have surfaced at Arsenal over the defender’s recovery after missing the second half of last season through injury.

Dann has not figured in Birmingham’s four games in the current campaign, partly because of niggling injuries but also because manager Chris Hughton has settled on a centre-back pairing of Curtis Davies and Steven Caldwell in the expectation that the senior man would be leaving.

EDEN HAZARD | Lille, Attacking Midfield, 20
Appearances 49
Goals 9
Assists 8
Price tag £26m
Chances of signing 30%
He's a little bit like Samir Nasri
There is a strong feeling that Arsenal are laying the groundwork for a deal next year rather than immediately recruiting a player who perfectly fits the Wenger template of technique, touch and talent.

Lille do not need to cash in after offloading three players – including Gervinho to Arsenal – for a combined £20m outlay this summer and have publicly been bullish about holding on to the Belgian wonderkid for another year.

It is doubtful whether Arsenal would meet Lille’s £26m valuation of a player the French champions believe could be worth even more in 12 months should his career graph continue to climb upwards this season.

Nevertheless, Hazard is believed to be open to the “right opportunity” and knows that at Arsenal he could expect to slot in immediately in his favoured playmaker role at one of Europe’s elite clubs.

PHIL JAGIELKA | Everton, Defender, 29
Appearances 36
Clean sheets 9
Goals 1
Price tag £18m
Chances of signing 20%
He's a little bit like David O'Leary

Everton chairman Bill Kenwright has assured Arsenal fans that the centre-back is one of four untouchables who will not be sold by the club, despite pressure from the club’s bankers.

Arsenal are said to have had two offers rejected for the 29-year-old this window although manager David Moyes has also been bullish about the defender staying.

Everton’s £18m asking price has put off Arsenal, given that there would be little resale value for a player who turns 30 next year.

Publicly and privately, Jagielka has not pushed for a move although he would be willing to make the switch to a Champions League club should Arsenal come back in for him.

YANN M'VILA | Rennes, Holding Midfielder, 21
Appearances 37
Goals 2
Assists 2
Price tag £13m
Chances of signing 60%
He's a little bit like Lassana Diarra

Following the announcement that Arsenal had agreed to sell Nasri to City, Wenger declared that midfield reinforcements were his immediate priority.

One of his principal targets for central midfield, which has been decimated by injury, suspension and Denilson’s loan departure, is Rennes anchorman Yann M’Vila.

Arsenal have held talks with the 21-year-old, who has been awarded 11 France caps, although Rennes’ £13m asking price is a significant hurdle still to be overcome.

He would be travelling a well-trodden path from Ligue 1 to the red-and-white side of north London and a deal is believed to be a strong possibility.

JAN VERTONGHEN | Ajax, Defender, 24
Appearances 42
Clean sheets 17
Goals 6
Price tag £8m
Chances of signing 30%
He's a little bit like Thomas Vermaelen

Like Luis Suarez last season, there is a strong body of opinion in Holland that the classy Belgian centre-back has outgrown the Eredivisie and is ready to make a leading Premier League club his new home.

Arsenal have been pursuing the ball-playing defender, a friend and international colleague of Thomas Vermaelen, for nearly two years and have been impressed by his physical qualities, aerial power and goalscoring ability.

Vertonghen’s camp were convinced one or both of Arsenal and Manchester City would have made a more concerted move by now but he has not completely given up hope of a switch to England before the end of the window.


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