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Premier League

Real Madrid linked with move for Arsenal defender Gael Clichy

With Real Madrid planning to continue their wild spending spree, Arsenal's Gael Clichy has become the latest player linked with a big money move to the Bernabeu.

Various reports suggest Real coach Manuel Pellegrini has identified Gael Clichy as the solution to the club's defensive problems.

The young left-back has become a key member of Arsene Wenger's squad and Arsenal will be desperate to hold on to the 23-year-old Frenchman.

Another reported target for Madrid has been Cesc Fabregas, but Arsenal fans will have been relieved to hear the captain reassert his commitment to the Gunners.

"Of course I see my future at Arsenal. I have a very long contract with the club," Fabregas said in an interview with Arsenal TV Online.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is set to continue splashing the cash, saying he believes signing the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka will strengthen the club financially - despite the huge initial outlay on transfer fees.

As well as the two Arsenal stars, Madrid continue to be linked with David Villa, David Silva, Franck Ribery, Raul Albiol and Xabi Alonso.

None of those players are likely to come cheap, and questions have already been raised about how Madrid will be financing the transfers and if the club will be swamped by huge debts as a result of their dealings this summer.

However, Perez, who is a hugely-successful businessman but insists the money spent will be the club's and not his own, is adamant that will not be the case and is confident the players they bring in will end up paying for themselves.

When asked about the possibility of Madrid being saddled with big debts, Perez told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "On the contrary, we believe we can improve our accounts by aiming for three goals - increasing ticket sales, increasing bank loans and increasing the club's economic value."

He added: "Real Madrid takes about 400 million (euros) a year, the fruit of three sources of income - a third from ticket sales, a third from television rights and a third from merchandising."

Perez's comments follow on from what he said last week about Ronaldo and how it was necessary to weigh the transfer fee against what the club could recoup by having the FIFA World Player of the Year on board.

"What I am sure of is that which seems expensive is the cheapest," said Perez, who during his previous spell as Madrid president from 2000-06 sanctioned the big-money signings of Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo and David Beckham.

"In my last era the cheapest was Zidane, who seemed very expensive because we paid 73million (euros) for him."

Perez returned to power at the start of this month unopposed after no other candidate put themselves forward for election, and the 62-year-old wasted no time in implementing his plan to return Madrid to former glories.

Within 24 hours of his arrival, Perez presented Manuel Pellegrini as Madrid's new coach, and seven days later the capture of Kaka was completed.

Ronaldo's arrival now seems imminent, while discussions regarding Valencia striker Villa are believed to be at an advanced stage.

"I want to relaunch the tradition of Real Madrid, which is to be faithful in providing a good show and giving the fans enthusiasm," Perez added in today's Gazzetta.

"In order to do that we have to focus on three crucial pillars - to play with great world-famous players, great Spanish players and great youth players.

"I want to recreate a Real Madrid that makes history."