Reyes and Cole may have to stay in Gunners' ranks

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The Independent Football

Arsenal are set to start the season with two players who desperately do not want to be at the Emirates Stadium, with the Ashley Cole affair dragging on and Jose Antonio Reyes yesterday being told by Real Madrid that they are unwilling to raise their £10m offer.

Reyes will have to put up with another year of English weather after the club's president, Ramon Calderon, said that the player was not a priority signing and he had no intention of raising their £10m offer. The admission leaves Reyes, who throughout the summer has repeated his desire to leave and his inability to adapt to life in England, facing a potential backlash from fans and team-mates.

The situation with Cole continues to show no signs of being resolved, with Arsenal still demanding £25m for the left-back and Chelsea unwilling to raise their offer above £16m. The transfer window closes in two weeks' time but there is a likelihood that Cole may start the season for Arsenal, despite being left out of the team's official photograph and the Champions' League tie with Dynamo Zagreb.

However, Jens Lehmann is convinced Arsenal have the strength in depth to cope should Cole leave. The Arsenal goalkeeper said: "We have lost only Dennis [Bergkamp], Robert [Pires] and Sol [Campbell] ... maybe now Ashley, but the club has always had a good policy in changing. Dennis was a great player, but he did not play that much last season. It was the same as Sol, Ashley only played a few games. Of course, it will be a big loss because he is probably the best left-back in the world, but we coped with it last season and as a team you can do that."

Lehmann needed treatment for hypoglycaemia following Germany's 3-0 win over Sweden in a friendly on Wednesday. The goalkeeper was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Gelsenkirchen, but was later released and flew back to London, where he will undergo further medical tests with the Gunners.

On Reyes, Calderon said: "I feel sorry for the kid if the move doesn't work out, but we have no commitment to sign him." Real are concentrating their efforts and resources on signing Lyon's Mali international midfielder Mahamadou Diarra and have no intention of haggling with the Gunners over a fee for Reyes.

"The big effort is for Diarra, that is what our manager, Fabio Capello, wants," Calderon said. "Reyes will only come if Arsenal agree to our terms. I am not going to pay one euro over the odds. It will be up to Arsenal if he moves or not."

David Beckham has been given the clearest indication yet he will be given a new deal at Real Madrid. Calderon last night responded to rumours that the former England captain's international exile would threaten his future at the club, saying: "We have spoken to Beckham's agent and we are in agreement over extending his deal. David has told me that he is very happy here. He is indispensable for Madrid because of the way he plays and for what he represents."

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