Eduardo set for talks with Arsenal over future

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The Independent Football

Arsene Wenger believes Eduardo remains "very important" to Arsenal, but is set for talks with the Croatian striker over his future.

The 27-year-old has battled back from a career-threatening injury, when he suffered a broken leg and ankle at Birmingham during February 2008.

However, the former Dinamo Zagreb striker has struggled for consistency and has often be used as a substitute by Wenger, with six goals from 31 appearances, almost half of which came from the bench.

With Marouane Chamakh's arrival set to be officially confirmed once the Morocco striker's contract with Bordeaux expires in the summer, Eduardo could find himself pushed further down the pecking order at Emirates Stadium.

Wenger has ruled out a loan spell, and said: "Eduardo is very important, but I will assess that situation and sit down with him before the end of the season, to see how he feels.

"He is 27 years old, and wants to play, but we extended his contract because we believe in him.

"In the last month, he looked sharp to me in training.

"He was a bit disturbed [by the injury], but I think next season should be better for him."

Wenger, though, concedes he will need to strengthen his squad after another campaign, which was blighted by injury to key men, failed to deliver a trophy.

William Gallas, Sol Campbell and Mikael Silvestre will all see their deals finish at the end of the season, so Wenger may well look to bolster his defence, with Fulham centre-back Brede Hangeland a potential target.

"I will try to do what I want to do as quickly as possible, but it does not only depend on me," said the Arsenal manager.

"Certainly, we will announce one player before the World Cup, but after that we will see."

The Gunners boss, however, maintains his playing staff does not need major surgery.

"I believe in the squad I have and if I can make an addition to the squad - two or three maximum - then we will do it."

Wenger, meanwhile, has been disappointed by comments from Andrey Arshavin revealing the Russian's admiration for Barcelona.

The 28-year-old is currently battling to be fit from a calf problem, and may not make the trip to Blackburn on Monday night.

Earlier this week, though, the Russian playmaker talked up Barcelona, who knocked Arsenal out of the Champions League, and claimed playing for the Spanish giants at some stage would be "would be the peak of my career".

It is not the first time such quotes attributed to Arshavin have hit the headlines, the Russian having questioned Arsenal's direction more than once during a season of frustration.

While Wenger continues to take such stories with a pinch of salt, given their source from overseas, the Arsenal manager firmly believes his team must commit 100% to the Gunners cause.

"Yes, I am very disappointed because he shows a completely different attitude," said Wenger.

"He wants to extend his contract with us and stay with us, so the noise coming out of Russia is very difficult to explain."

Wenger declared: "We do not, of course, accept that. When you are at Arsenal, you are at Arsenal. When you are somewhere else, you are somewhere else.

"I believe that your pride makes first that you defend your club.

"Everybody has the freedom to speak, but you want to make sure first of all that you respect your club."

Arsenal's injury problems continued with the news midfielder Denilson would now not be fit for the final two games of the season because of an ongoing groin problem.

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