The week has started off well for Arsenal as they confirmed the signing of Lille striker Gervinho, as manager Arsene Wenger expressed his confidence of holding on to the wantaway pair of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.
Gervinho scored 15 goals last season, helping Lille to the French league and Cup double. After being linked with the Gunners since the transfer window opened, the Ivoirian has finally made the move to the Emirates. Manager Arsene Wenger, who is currently with his team on a pre-season tour of the Far East, confirmed his signing and said, Gervinho has joined. He had a medical on Thursday.
We sent him home for a couple of days because he has a family and children. He did not come (on tour) because he has not had a (training) session yet.
Gervinho is Arsenal's second signing of the season, after they brought 19-year-old Carl Jenkinsson from Charlton Atheltic. Meanwhile, Wenger went on to claim that he would try and convince both Fabregas and Nasri to stay, during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur.
Our position is always the same - we want to keep Cesc and I will fight as hard as I can to keep him. Samir Nasri is exactly the same. We will do everything we can to keep him, said Wenger. I'm confident we can get both of them to stay.
I expect Samir to stay, he added. There is always speculation, but he is committed to the club right now.''
And about Fabregas, Wenger said, We know that this story for Barcelona has gone on for years now, we have to close that and focus on the season, hopefully with Cesc Fábregas.
He then stated he wouldn't disclose what was discussed with Fabregas in private. I never speak on matters that happen behind closed doors. I have given the media enough headlines and I don't want to add any more.
However, according to reports in Sky Sports, Wenger has joined the battle for Aston Villa winger Stewart Downing, who is also wanted by Liverpool. The report revealed that Arsenal had already tabled an £8 million offer for the 26-year-old, though Villa value him at £20 million. Liverpool had a bid around the region of £15 million rejected last week, and with Arsenal's joining the battle, it could lead to a tug-of-war between the two teams.
An interest in Downing could mean that Wenger is resigned to losing Nasri, who the report claims will move to Manchester City for a reported £22 million. The report comes a day after Wenger had told the press conference at Kuala Lumpur that he expects Nasri to stay.
The Centre-back area is one of the main concerns for the Gunners, and footie-online.co.uk claims that Wenger will make a move for German international Per Mertesacker. Reports in Germany suggest Wenger is planning an official approach for the 26-year-old who plays for Werder Bremen. Mertesacker could bring in the required experience as he has 75 international caps to his name and has featured for Bremen in over 140 games since his arrival in 2006.
The deal could make sense as Arsenal have fallen behind in the race to sign Blackburn defender Christopher Samba to Tottenham. According to the Mirror Spurs will attempt to bring the giant centre-back, who has a £12 million fee slapped on him, with a player-plus-cash deal. However, it remains to be seen whether the London side can meet Samba's 60,000 per-week wage demands. Arsenal are seemingly out of the race as Wenger considers Samba to be over-priced at £12 million.
In what will come as welcome news to some quarters of the Emirates, Nicklas Bendtner and Manuel Almunia are on their way out of Arsenal.
A report in the Daily Star suggests that Bendtner has already left for Germany in order to hold talks with Borussia Dortmund. Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon are also interested in the player. Arsenal value the player at £12 million, but they might have to settle for £9 million.
Almunia is set for a return to Spain, having arrived at Arsenal from Celta Vigo seven years ago. Newly-rich Malaga are said to be interested in him as are Atletico Madrid, who lost David de Gea to Manchester United. Wenger is demanding a figure of £1 million for the 34-year-old.