Wenger ponders options in market

Wenger ponders options in market

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger continues to weigh up his options of how best to replace defensive midfielder Alex Song.

The Gunners last week saw the Cameroon international follow former captain Robin van Persie out of the Emirates Stadium when he joined Barcelona in a £15m deal.

While it had been suggested a season long-loan deal with Real Madrid for Turkey international Nuri Sahin – who is also tracked by Liverpool – was all but agreed, Press Association Sport understands there are alternate interests should, as expected, the Arsenal manager move to further strengthen the squad ahead of the closure of the transfer window next week.

The Premier League club are also said to still be monitoring long-term target Yann M’Vila at Rennes, who are holding out for a £17m fee, and have also been linked with a big-money move for Sevilla winger Jesus Navas – but that would represent another bold attacking move for Wenger, who already has a formidable forward line despite the sale of Van Persie.

Arsenal opened the new season with a frustrating goalless draw at home to Sunderland, where Spain midfielder Santi Cazorla impressed on his debut as Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, who missed the game’s best chance late on, both failed to break the deadlock.

The Gunners head to Stoke on Sunday, when England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is expected to be available following an ankle problem, but defender Laurent Koscielny (calf) is still not match-fit.

Wenger accepted his side had not produced the needed balance in attack against Sunderland.

Ivory Coast winger Gervinho was part of that three-man frontline, with Theo Walcott on the opposite flank supporting Podolski.

Whether or not Wenger will tinker with the formation for the trip to Stoke, which is set to throw up a whole new set of challenges, remains to be seen.

Gervinho, though, has every confidence he can build on his debut campaign in England with a strong showing this time around – just like Gunners legend Robert Pires.

“You should always look at these examples from the past,” Gervinho told Arsenal Player.

“Robert is a fantastic player, very experienced, and I saw this for myself [when Pires was] training here. I really hope to emulate Robert Pires in my second season, hopefully do even better, but I hope to carve out my own niche of course.”

Gervinho, signed from Lille in an £11m deal last summer, added: “I hope to push on personally, also to progress with the team and to showcase my qualities.

“I have learnt lots of things, coming to a new club, being new to the Premier League.

“I have learnt to adapt on the pitch and, when I think back, also in front of goal. I really feel that I’ve come on a lot, I feel really good in training and I’m ready for my second season.”

The 25-year-old accepts he must be able to provide more to the side than just sheer pace down the flanks.

“I may have to change the way I play, mix up my game a bit,” he said.

“I will have to give even more and raise the bar even higher after my first season here.

“I have got lots of confidence in my own ability and I know I have got to keep up my standards. I will relish the challenge and I really want to show the club and the fans [what I can do] this year.”

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