Arsenal sign up youth quartet

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Arsenal have handed professional contracts to four members of their successful FA Youth Cup team, while confirming Portugal Under-21 international Amaury Bischoff is one of eight players released.

Defenders Luke Ayling (17), Craig Eastmond (18), Cedric Evina (17) and 18-year-old keeper James Shea have all been signed on by the Gunners following an impressive campaign which also saw the youngsters win the FA Premier Academy League under the guidance of former centre-half Steve Bould.

However, Bischoff will not be furthering his career at Emirates Stadium, with Rui Fonte - who had a spell on loan with Crystal Palace - also being released at the end of his contract.

Bischoff made just four Arsenal first-team appearances, all as substitute, following his move from Werder Bremen last summer - which came as the midfielder battled back to fitness after a long-standing groin injury and manager Arsene Wenger admitted was something of a "gamble".

Wenger, meanwhile, is keen to add to his squad following the arrival of Belgium defender Thomas Vermaelen.

Brazilian holding midfielder Felipe Melo has been linked with a switch from Serie A side Fiorentina.

However, the future of Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor is yet to be resolved one way or another - with AC Milan continuing their interest.