Arsenal Chasing German Defenders Benedikt Hoewedes & Per Mertesacker - Reports  

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Benedikt Hoewedes has joined the growing list of German defenders linked with a move to Arsenal. According to widespread sources in England, Germany, Italy and Spain, the Gunners are interested in signing the Schalke centre-half, and could soon table a bid on the order of €9.1 million.

Hoewedes' current contract runs until 2014, but with Schalke struggling in both footballing and financial terms, the Gelsenkirchen outfit might jump at the opportunity to make some much needed cash.

Other reports suggest that Arsenal have renewed their interest in Werder Bremen centre-half Per Mertesacker, and are mulling over an offer of €16m for the Germany international.

Whether Schalke or Bremen are open to releasing their star defenders during the January transfer window is still in question, as is the players' interest in a move abroad. In addition to Hoewedes and Mertesacker, Arsenal have previously been linked with Stuttgart centre-half Serdar Tasci.

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'New Cesc Fabregas' Sergi Samper, 15, to spark Arsenal-Barcelona battle  

Monday, 25 October 2010

Barcelona are set to face another transfer scrap with Arsenal, but this time the boot is on the other foot as the Gunners aim to snatch top-rated Sergi Samper - dubbed the 'next Cesc Fabregas' - from under the Catalan club's noses.
According to reports in Spain, Samper is holding out over a contract offer from Barca with Arsene Wenger tracking the wonderkid midfielder as he approaches his 16th birthday.

The saga could come to a head in January, with Arsenal rumoured to be considering making their official offer when the transfer window reopens.

And it has echoes of the situation that saw Fabregas, who is now Arsenal captain, turn his back on Barcelona to pursue a career in London at a similar age in 2003.

Samper is considered to be one of the 'next big things' in Spanish football, and could be offered a tempting four-year contract by the Premier League club as well as assurances of regular first-team football from a relatively young age.

And, according to Spanish sources, he is tempted to follow in the footsteps of Fabregas, who, after developing his skills in the Arsenal set-up, is now one of the world's most sought-after midfielders.

If Samper does move, it would be a bitter irony for Barca, who thought they'd won an ill-tempered tug of war over Fabregas in the summer before the Catalan-born 23-year-old opted to stay at the Emirates Stadium instead of moving back to La Liga.

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Wenger: Eastlands Victory Just the Start for Arsenal  

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes that yesterday's impressive 3-0 win away to ten-man Manchester City will ignite a realistic title challenge for his side. Speaking afterwards, he was understandably delighted with the fighting nature of the performance at the City of Manchester Stadium.

"It was important to get a win in a big place to strengthen belief and continue our march forward," said the 61 year-old.

"I think that collectively, we completely dominated the game and I hope it will translate into confident performances in later fixtures."

The home side had Dedryck Boyata sent off five minutes in after his clumsy challenge clearly denied striker Marouane Chamakh a goal-scoring opportunity and from then on, Roberto Mancini's charges were always underdogs.

A crisp passing movement mid-way through the first period saw Andrey Arshavin put Samir Nasri clear on the right and the Frenchman beat Joe Hart at the near post to net his fourth league effort of the season.

In a feisty contest, there was still time before the interval for Mark Clattenburg to hand out five bookings and for Hart to save a penalty from Cesc Fabregas.

City started brightly in the second half, and the Gunners' goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski was called upon to make some impressive saves, as the Pole looked to stake a claim for the starting berth even when Manuel Almunia returns from injury.

Having weathered the storm, two more typically well put together attacks saw Alex Song and substitute Nicklas Bendtner put some flattering gloss on the scoreline late on.

Following the win, that sees Arsenal move up to second in the Premier League table on goal difference, their boss continued to praise the concentration of his team.

"It looked to me from the bench that it was a sending off and the referee had no option," Wenger, who last week admitted to harbouring an interest in Bolton's Gary Cahill, went on. After the sending off it became electric and we got some yellow cards quite quickly. It was very important that we did not get a second yellow."

"I asked the players at half-time to focus on playing football and not just defending our advantage."

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