Belfast Telegraph

Wenger targets defender deal

Arsene Wenger has confirmed he will look to bring in cover at centre-half as Arsenal scour the globe for an answer to Thomas Vermaelen's Achilles problem.

Vermaelen has not played for the Gunners since August 28, after he suffered an injury while on international duty with Belgium. It had been hoped the 25-year-old would only be sidelined for a couple of weeks, but complications have now resulted in Arsenal being unable to put any timeframe on his return.

"Vermaelen had another setback on Saturday that we are concerned with," Wenger told Arsenal TV Online. "We are consulting top specialists around the world. Unfortunately I can't give you any precise date, but I concede that, with this little setback from Thomas, we are in a situation where we will have to look around."

Sebastien Squillaci suffered a hamstring strain during the FA Cup third-round draw against Leeds on Saturday, which has ruled him out for probably the rest of the month.

Reserve-team captain Ignasi Miquel, 18, was on the bench at the weekend, and could feature again in Wednesday night's Carling Cup semi-final first leg at Ipswich.

Both Bacary Sagna, who is serving a three-match ban after his red card against Manchester City, and Alex Song could play in the middle of defence.

Wenger continued: "Squillaci will be out for a maximum of three weeks, minimum two. It is a hamstring injury but it is not too bad - a grade one. He will be back in two weeks if all goes well."

Bolton's Gary Cahill, Montpellier's Bosnian international Emir Spahic and Werder Bremen stopper Per Mertesacker are reported targets. However, German Mertesacker insists he does not want to consider his own future.

"We are in a difficult moment with Werder and we should not be talking about me at this time," Mertesacker told the Kreiszeitung newspaper. I am needed here for our day-to-day work and it is my duty to concentrate on that. I cannot deal with anything else."

Mertesacker added: "Most of it does not even get through to me and I have told my agent that he should leave me in peace. In certain situations, players should protect themselves by not losing track of the most important things in their job."


From Belfast Telegraph