Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Gunners land Charlton youngster

Carl Jenkinson

Arsenal have confirmed the signing of Finland Under-19 defender Carl Jenkinson from Charlton.

The Gunners have also tied England youngsters Benik Afobe and Chuks Aneke to long-term deals, along with Dutch youth international midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

Manager Arsene Wenger is expected to add some experience to his first-team squad this summer, with Lille's Ivory Coast forward Gervinho, Bolton defender Gary Cahill and Blackburn centre-back Christopher Samba all reported targets.

While Arsenal fans will be expecting some big-name signings over the summer, Wenger has again kept one eye on the future with the capture of Jenkinson. The 6ft 1inch defender, who qualifies for Finland through his mother, can play at either right-back or in central defence, an area which the Gunners were exposed last season.

Afobe showed good form during his loan spell at Huddersfield last season, scoring eight goals as the Terriers reached the League One play-off final, while England Under-18 internationals Aneke and Ozyakup impressed for Arsenal's second string.

However, after another season which promised so much failing to deliver as Arsenal's quest for honours quickly fell apart following defeat in the Carling Cup final to Birmingham, Wenger is set to bring in some experience.

Liam Brady, the Gunners' head of youth development, maintains the north-London club will soon complete on their transfer targets. "There will be a lot of business done this year and I think we will be spending a bit more money than we have done in past seasons. I think Arsenal will spend this year," Brady told talkSPORT.

However, the former Republic of Ireland midfielder maintained signing talent is never easy, given the competitive market. "Where are the players to go around everybody? It is not only the clubs in England, but also all the big European clubs are in the transfer market," he said.

Midfielder Samir Nasri has urged Gunners fans to ignore reports he could be on his way out of the Emirates Stadium. The France international has yet to agree a new deal and is said to be a target for both Manchester United and Bayern Munich.

Brady, though, is confident the 23-year-old will soon commit his long-term future to the Gunners. "We all rate Nasri," Brady said. "I believe they had extensive contractual talks but not reached a conclusion, but sometimes it takes time. I am optimistic he will be playing with Arsenal next year."

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