Despite setting themselves to lose their two most influential players, namely Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, Arsene Wenger has named both of them in the squad for their UEFA Champions League qualifying match against Udinese.

If either player features in two-legged encounter, and if Arsenal proceeds to qualify, then both will be cup-tied, making them less attractive to their well-known suitors. Barcelona are not likely to pay £40 million for Fabregas if he can't play in the Champions League, while Arsenal £22 million demand for Nasri from Manchester City will seem highly optimistic to say the least.

Having said that, it would have been fool-hardy of Arsene Wenger to not name them in the squad and thereby betray a sign of weakness to the interested clubs. It means the clubs will attempt to complete a deal before the first-leg on Tuesday, 16 August.

At least one of those two possible deals seems likely as reports suggest that talks between Arsenal and Manchester City are moving at a swift pace. The Daily Mirror reports that even a fee of £22 million has been agreed between the two clubs and the only sticking-point that remains is the manner of payment. Arsenal want the full fee up-front, knowing that the sum would have as much effect on the rich Eastland's side as a match-stick would in a volcano. City however, are only willing to pay £15 million up-front with the rest of the fee based on performance related add-ons.

It is a sad turnaround for Arsenal, who were hoping to convince Nasri to stay and had refused to entertain talks for the player earlier in the summer. However, relations between the club and the player have deteriorated after he flew to France to take part in an International friendly while snubbing Arsenal's friendly with Benfica a few days before. Nasri has refused Arsenal's contract-extension offer worth £90,000 per-week knowing that he could earn twice as much at City.

He is already into his final 12 months at the club and Arsenal are not ready to risk losing an unhappy player for free next summer.


Arsenal are set to lose two of their stars.

Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh admitted that he expected his teammates, Fabregas and Nasri, to move stating that it was only a matter of time.

"I think both of them are likely leaving the club," Chamakh told L'Equipe. "It's a difficult situation for the manager. I don't think it's a matter of money for Fabregas or Samir. I think he (Wenger) is looking for their successors and he hasn't found them. I think before letting them go he wants to find the players to replace them.

"That's my opinion about the situation. The problem is the season starts this weekend, and it's even more difficult for us.

"I think in the situation the club was in, they could have let only one leave," he said. "Especially Cesc, he wants to leave for several seasons because he's born in Barcelona. But Samir is now in a situation where he has one year left on his contract, so if they don't sell him this summer he will leave for free at the end of the season.

"Is the club ready to refuse a little bit more than €20 million to keep a good player for one season? It's strange, at a club like Arsenal, that he's now with one year left on his contract, that the club couldn't make him sign a new contract before."

Elsewhere, with injuries to Thomas Vermaelen and Keiron Gibbs, signing a defender has become one of Wenger's immediate priorities. His chief scout Steve Rowley and his assistant Pat Rice both watched Birmingham defender Scott Dann, who was playing a friendly against Tottenham although the young Spurs' side ended up 6-3 winners. They also watched Bolton's Gary Cahill and Arsenal are expected to make a move for one of them soon.

What is clear is that they have no chance of signing Everton's Phil Jagielka. Wenger had a £12 million bid reject for the England international, as Everton's asking price ranged around £18 million. However, it was a bit too pricey for Arsenal, especially considering the player, at 28, is just about on the right side of 30.

Jagielka's Everton teammate, Sylvain Distin has stated that his defensive partner isn't going anywhere.

"He's not come out and said he wants to go anywhere, so I guess that means Jags wants to stay," Distin said. "It's still a club to be at. I don't think any players want to leave here, to be honest. My guess is he's fine here.

"I haven't told him not to go, there's no point doing that. If he comes to me and asks, I'll tell him what I think, but it's not happened so we're happy he's staying."

Per Mertesacker is another possiblity, especially after Werder Bremen stated that they're willing to sell him for the right price. Arsenal are also looking at Blackburn defender Chris Samba. 

Meanwhile, has reported that Russian heavy-spenders Anzhi Makhachkala are stepping up their efforts to sign Andrey Arshavin.

The Russian has had a mixed-time at the Emirates since his move from Zenit in 2009 and though performed impressively in the season immediately after his arrival, he failed to match his own standards last year and couldn't find a regular starting spot. Anzhi, backed by billionaire owner Suleyman Kerimov, are ready to offer him a route back to Russia and are eager to hold talks with Arsenal about a possible move.

Finally, in some good news for Arsenal, Japanese youngster Ryo Miyaichi has been given a work-permit on the basis of being an "exceptional talent" and will feature for Arsenal in the upcoming season. Miyaichi, who is branded as the Japanese Messi, joined Arsenal in 2010 after impressing in his trial period and subsequently went on loan to Feynoord where he drew comparisons to Brazilian star Ronaldinho after a string of impressive displays.

Miyaichi featured for Arsenal during their pre-season and is also named in the 23-man squad for their Champions League qualifier against Udinese. It was a delighted Wenger who said: "We are absolutely delighted. This is almost like a new signing for us, as we weren't completely sure we would be given the authorisation."