Belfast Telegraph

Arsenal set to move for Bielik

Arsenal are expected to push ahead with their interest in Legia Warsaw teenage midfielder Krystian Bielik during the January transfer window.

The 6ft 2ins 17-year-old is viewed as an emerging prospect by the Gunners, but Legia, who only signed the player last year and have him under contract until 2017, are holding out for a fee in excess of £2million.

Bielik has told the Polish press of being impressed by Arsenal during a trip to England before Christmas.

In an interview reported on www.legia.sport.pl, he said: "I hope that the two clubs come together and I go to London to fulfil my dreams.

"He (Wenger) knows that I have the skills, am determined to win and he wants to sign me as soon as possible to start working with me."

Arsenal are also said to be running the rule over 16-year-old Uruguayan attacking midfielder Federico Valverde from Penarol.

While Wenger clearly still has one eye on the future, more pressing matters over the next few weeks will be to recruit some experienced cover to bolster the first-team squad as they head into the defining period of the campaign.

St Etienne captain Loic Perrin claims the Gunners are looking to bring him in.

The £7million-rated 29-year-old centre-half was recently called into the French national team and would offer some reinforcement to an Arsenal rearguard which has been brutally exposed time and again this season.

Boca Juniors striker Jonathan Calleri, 21, is another reported target, with Yaya Sanogo expected to go out on loan, Bordeaux leading the chase, and Lukas Podolski having already left for Inter Milan.

It remains to be seen, meanwhile, whether goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny will be recalled for the home Barclays Premier League match against Stoke on Sunday following reports he was smoking after the 2-0 defeat at Southampton on New Year's Day.

Former Gunners midfielder John Jensen alleged during comments made as a media pundit for Danish TV during Sunday's FA Cup third round win over Hull that the Poland international was involved in a heated bust-up with Wenger and subsequently was dropped in favour of David Ospina as a result, a claim which Arsenal subsequently have denied.

However, stories have since emerged the player had a cigarette following the match at St Mary's Stadium, during which he was at fault for the goals, and could be hit with a fine.

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