Belfast Telegraph

Szczesny: Gunners can fight for titles

Wojciech Szczesny claims "the quality is there" for Arsenal to challenge for Europe's top honours again next season.

The Gunners still have some work to do over the final three games of the Barclays Premier League to make sure of third place ahead of Newcastle. Nevertheless, just to be in this position is an achievement in itself given their appalling start, which saw Arsene Wenger's men slump to 17th after four defeats in the opening seven matches.

The Gunners won seven straight games to move into the top four, and Szczesny accepts those performances must come on a weekly basis if Arsenal are to match Chelsea's achievement by reaching the Champions League final. He said: "I think the quality is there. We all know it - we have the quality to fight for trophies in Europe and this country."

He continued: "It is just consistency that has been a bit of a problem for us this year. But the team is getting more experienced and hopefully we have got the experience to win trophies next year."

"If you look over the last couple of months we are probably one of the best teams in the Premier League. We have got three games to go and we need to win all three and we will finish third."

As well as aiming to finalise a new deal for captain Robin van Persie this summer, Wenger is expected to be busy in the transfer market. A £10million move for German striker Lukas Podolski from Cologne is expected to be rubber-stamped soon after the end of the season.

Arsenal also have to decide on the futures of several fringe players, such as goalkeeper Manuel Almunia and Denilson, as well as strikers Nicklas Bendtner and Carlos Vela, while Yossi Benayoun's loan from Chelsea could be made permanent.

Bendtner has indicated he does not want to play for Arsenal again when his temporary switch to Sunderland comes to an end.

Speaking to Sporten.tv2.dk, the Denmark forward said: "Never say never about Sunderland, but it is not certain I will be there even if the opportunity arises. About Arsenal - of course I will have to have a talk with the club about it [my future], but it is not where my first priority is going to be. I think I have been pretty clear about it."

"I am not concentrating too much on my future just yet. I play the Euros first and so I will think about my future after that."

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