Belfast Telegraph

New signings set for Arsenal debuts

Arsene Wenger could unleash all of Arsenal's five deadline signings for the visit of Swansea tomorrow.

The Gunners will be looking to kick-start their Barclays Premier League campaign with a first domestic victory of what has been a nightmare opening few weeks of the season, which culminated in a humiliating 8-2 thrashing at Manchester United before the international break.

However, Wenger has moved to strengthened the squad with the transfers of Korea forward Park Chu-Young, defenders Per Mertesacker and Andre Santos as well as late swoops for midfielder pair Yossi Benayoun and Mikel Arteta.

Belgian centre-back Thomas Vermaelen is out after minor surgery on a niggling ankle problem suffered in the Champions League play-off win over Udinese, so 6ft 6ins Mertesacker looks set to make his Arsenal debut following an £8million move from Werder Bremen.

Mertesacker, 26, jumped at the chance to join the English club he followed as a youngster, and believes there is no better role model than the former Gunners skipper Tony Adams - who led the club to four league titles and won the Double twice under Arsene Wenger.

"We didn't get many pictures of him on the television, but Adams was a legend here. He is a special one for me," Mertesacker told

"When I was looking at English football I always looked to Arsenal and he was one of the great defenders when I was 10 or 12 years old.

"I like the players [like Adams] very much - I have enjoyed seeing them over the years.

"I hope I can improve my performances here and get better and better - I want to be useful for the team."

Emmanuel Frimpong will return from his suspension, but Alex Song and Gervinho must serve the final match of their three-game bans picked up on the opening day at Newcastle.

With fitness doubts over both Theo Walcott and Tomas Rosicky from international action, Wenger could again see his options stretched.

Park netted a hat-trick in the 6-0 thrashing of Lebanon, but the former Monaco frontman accepts it will take some time to adapt to life in the English top-flight.

He told Ilgan Sports: "I will try to adjust at Arsenal and work hard to play in many games as I can."

Following his deadline switch from Everton, Arteta cannot wait to get into action with his new team-mates.

The arrival of the experienced Spaniard will go some way to offsetting the departures of captain Cesc Fabregas and playmaker Samir Nasri.

"I hope I can do my job well and if I have the chance to play, I will give everything," he said.

"There is still a lot of work to do, but we want to start winning on Saturday and get that right.

"From then hopefully everything is going to be more positive."

Belfast Telegraph


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