Arteta claims reports of Gunners' demise are premature even after exodus


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The Independent Online

Mikel Arteta, the Arsenal vice-captain, insists the north London side are in good shape, despite the loss of two key players in Robin van Persie and Alex Song in a matter of days.

Song followed Van Persie out of the Emirates Stadium this week when he signed a five-year deal with Barcelona in what is understood to be a £15m deal.

Arsenal are expected to bring in some reinforcements ahead of the transfer deadline. A loan move for Turkish international Nuri Sahin is on the agenda if terms with Real Madrid can be agreed, while the club are also said to still be monitoring Yann M'Vila, a long-term target, although Rennes, his current club are holding out for a £17m fee.

Arteta was appointed vice-captain to Thomas Vermaelen following Van Persie's £24m switch to Manchester United, who lost 1-0 at Everton last night with the Dutchman starting on the bench.

The Spaniard believes the summer additions of Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla, who particularly impressed in midfield on his debut in the goalless draw with Sunderland, mean the Gunners are already well stocked for the battles ahead.

"We are looking good. We looked really organised on Saturday, just maybe in the final third we didn't take the chances we should have done," Arteta said.

"It will take a while because there have been some new players coming in and we are building a new team. We have lost some important players too, so we will need some time. We know that our new players can make the difference as well. We will have to give them a chance to settle into a new place."

Pierre Dreossi, Rennes director, expects M'Villa's future to be resolved one way or another very soon. "I think it can be settled by the end of this week or the start of next," he said. "But it is complicated because some clubs are not agreed about the deal and there are clubs where Yann does not want to go."

Dreossi added: "Arsenal? Maybe, you would have to ask Arsene Wenger, but with Song leaving, it means that Arsenal are going to reinforce that position."