Arsene Wenger steps up chase for Marouane Chamakh as Emmanuel Adebayor nears exit  

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Arsene Wenger is lining up a £7million bid for Bordeaux striker Marouane Chamakh as a replacement for Emmanuel Adebayor. The Arsenal manager is ready to let Adebayor join Manchester City for £20m, with talks already under way between the clubs.

Wenger sees Chamakh as a ready-made replacement for the Togo forward and wants to move quickly for the French-born Morocco international in order to fend off interest from other Premier League clubs.

Fulham, Tottenham and Sunderland have also been linked with the 25-year-old, who has just one year to go on his contract and has refused to open talks with his French club over an extension. Bordeaux are now resigned to losing him and manager Laurent Blanc wants the player's future to be decided before he takes his side on a pre-season tour of Canada next Wednesday.

Wenger was impressed with the striker's performances in helping Bordeaux win the French League and publicly confirmed his interest in the player this month.

Chamakh had earlier revealed he would be keen on a move to Emirates Stadium. He said: "I want to play in the Premier League and a club like Arsenal would be a dream. If they were to come calling, I would certainly give them a positive answer."

For Wenger's part, the chance to sign a tall, rangy striker for a cut-price fee - Chamakh has a £7m buy-out clause in his contract - would appear too inviting to turn down, even if Chamakh is an unknown quantity in England.

His goalscoring form is far from prolific and he averages less than a goal every four games in his career, although he did net 14 times last term.

But Wenger has an enviable track record of unearthing gems from French football and is confident Chamakh can make the same impact as Adebayor, who was also relatively unheard of before moving from Monaco in 2006.

Wenger has also noted Chamakh's impressive link-up play with Bordeaux midfielder Yoann Gourcuff and hopes he could strike up a similar rapport with Cesc Fabregas.

Adebayor, meanwhile, will demand City make him the highest-paid player in the Premier League if he completes his switch from Arsenal.

He is expected to insist on a figure surpassing that of Robinho, who is the division's top earner on £160,000 a week, and will also command a huge signing-on fee given that he has four years left on his contract.

However, early indications suggest City are prepared to meet his demands as they bid to line up a strike force of Adebayor, Roque Santa Cruz and Carlos Tevez, who sealed a £25m switch to Eastlands last night.

The Argentine has signed a five-year, £130,000-a-week deal after City reached agreement with the player's representative Kia Joorabchian to take on his economic rights.

Former Arsenal striker Jose Antonio Reyes could make a surprise return to England after both Liverpool and Everton made enquiries about the winger.

The 25-year-old, who spent three unsuccessful years on Arsenal's books - the last of which was on loan at Real Madrid in 2006 - is no longer wanted by Atletico Madrid and his contract can be bought out for just £4m.

Reyes spent last season on loan at Benfica, who have offered to match Atletico's asking price but the Merseyside clubs are hoping to convince the Spaniard to return to England.

Arsenal are expected to announce American sports marketer Tom Fox as chief commercial officer later this month. Fox will work directly under chief executive Ivan Gazidis from August and help raise the Gunners' profile in the


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