Belfast Telegraph

Wenger plans to take Upson back

Arsene Wenger has said that he is in the market for a new centre-back with Premier League experience this month and it is understood a move for the former Arsenal defender Matthew Upson is also under consideration.

It is understood that Wenger will look at a loan signing first but is weighing up a move for Upson, who is out of contract at West Ham in the summer and will not sign another deal.

It is unlikely that Upson, 31, would sign for anything less than a two-year deal. However, with so little on the market at a fee Arsenal would be prepared to pay, Wenger's hand may be forced.

The Arsenal manager admitted that he is under pressure to sign a replacement who is “adapted to English football” and can hit the ground running, so great is his current need.

It came after Wenger announced yet another set-back in the rehabilitation from injury of Thomas Vermaelen who has been out of action since August.

He is also without Sebastien Squillaci for a minimum of two weeks which leaves him badly short of cover in a team that is challenging in all three domestic competitions and face Barcelona in the knockout round of the Champions League.

His Arsenal side face Ipswich Town tonight at Portman Road in the first leg of their Carling Cup semi-final tie.

Yesterday Wenger said that Vermaelen's Achilles problem had left him “concerned”.

Wenger said: “We are, at the moment with that little setback with Thomas, in a situation where we will have to look around.

“We have always people in mind and we check out. We look everywhere. It's difficult to find at this period of the season but overall I feel we have so many games that it's very important to focus on the next game.”

As by far the strongest club left in the competition, the Carling Cup represents Arsenal's best chance of a trophy this season and Wenger conceded that his team were favourites tonight.

He said: “The pressure is on Arsenal and they have nothing to lose.”

Wenger also hinted that he has considered a move for Ipswich's highly-rated 17-year-old striker Connor Wickham.

“We know him well, we have seen him many times. He is one of the players who can make a difference.”

Belfast Telegraph

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