Arsenal jettison Jensen

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The Independent Online
NICK DUXBURY

Bruce Rioch yesterday bid goodbye to John Jensen while he contemplated a pounds 1m move for the 18-year-old Crewe Alexandra striker Mark Rivers.

Jensen, the midfielder who is one of a growing number of players who do not figure in the Arsenal manager's rebuilding plans, returned to the Danish club, Brondby, on loan until the end of the season, when he will be out of contract and a free agent.

Rioch, who may lose the Highbury stalwart, Ian Wright, to Chelsea, is facing competition for Rivers from the same source. Glenn Hoddle is also an admirer, but Rioch has an advantage, having played with Rivers' father, John, when they were at Luton 30 years ago.

The reserve striker Paul Dickov has followed Wright into Rioch's office to talk about his situation, but stopped short of a transfer request. "The position is that if another club comes in, I will be informed," the 23-year-old Dickov said. "I'm happy at Arsenal and the manager has been great about things, but I am looking for first-team football."

Rioch has already told Wright he does not want him to leave, despite the pounds 3m he would command from Chelsea, and a strong indication of the striker's future at Highbury will come with Rioch's team selection for Saturday's Premiership trip to Wimbledon.

Rioch knows he must remodel the squad left behind by George Graham and up to 10 players - including two internationals, Steve Morrow and Eddie McGoldrick, the midfielder David Hillier and the striker Chris Kiwomya - are available for transfer.

The departing Jensen was bought by Graham for pounds 1.57m in July 1992 and became a cult figure for his lack of goals, scoring only once in 136 first-team appearances.

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