Suspension to rule Touré out of United showdown

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The Independent Football

Kolo Toure yesterday admitted a charge of violent conduct for elbowing Alan Shearer during Sunday's match at Highbury and must now serve a three-match ban that will rule him out of Arsenal's Premiership game against Manchester United on Tuesday.

Kolo Toure yesterday admitted a charge of violent conduct for elbowing Alan Shearer during Sunday's match at Highbury and must now serve a three-match ban that will rule him out of Arsenal's Premiership game against Manchester United on Tuesday.

The defender opted not to contest the charge and will miss this weekend's FA Cup fourth-round tie against Wolverhampton Wanderers, as well as the Premiership games against United and Aston Villa.

The Football Association reviewed video evidence after the Ivory Coast international was alleged to have elbowed Shearer in the back during Newcastle's 1-0 defeat. The FA announced: "Arsenal defender Kolo Touré has admitted a charge of violent conduct. The associated automatic three-match suspension will therefore start with immediate effect."

In Touré's absence the Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, is likely to turn to Pascal Cygan, who has just returned from a back injury and has not played a first-team game for the past two months, to partner Sol Campbell.

The Gunners are also set to lose Edu by the end of this month, with the Brazil midfielder set to complete his move away from Highbury within the next couple of days.

Wenger will have to move quickly if he is to find a replacement for central midfielder Edu, with the 26-year-old failing to reach agreement over a new contract at Highbury.

Arsenal have resolved to sell him before the end of this month for a fee, rather than losing him on a free transfer at the end of this season when his existing deal runs out.

Valencia are the favourites to sign Edu, with his agent, Jean Gaspar, saying: "In the next few days the club which wants to contract Edu will contact Arsenal to negotiate a transfer. After this we will reveal his destination."

With so little time left on his contract, Arsenal are unlikely to recoup anything like the £6m they paid Corinthians in 2001. "I've already decided not to stay with Arsenal, as I've received some good offers from big European teams," he said.

Meanwhile, Wenger, has appealed for patience as he builds a young Arsenal squad capable of competing with Chelsea for the title for years to come - without breaking the bank at Highbury. He has not yet given up on retaining their title, although he accepts Chelsea must falter if Arsenal are to mount a recovery. However, he will continue to build for the future, believing this is the only way that Arsenal can hope to match Chelsea, given their immense spending power.

Indeed, Wenger intimated that the Gunners will stand a better chance of winning the title next season, when the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Mathieu Flamini, Robin van Persie and Jose Antonio Reyes have matured.

"It's a big challenge to compete with Chelsea with much less money. They have unlimited power," Wenger said. "I feel we can compete with them but we need a bit more patience. While they can keep players at another club [on loan] until they peak, we have to take players early and be patient by educating them and getting them into the first team. But we need to keep faithful to what we can afford. You have to work with what you have available.

"For us to compete with Chelsea and ruin this club would be nonsense. There are a big number of players on earth and they cannot employ everybody.

"Manchester United have made huge investments. We will get that as well. But we have also gone another way, which is to get good young players in, mature them and not to sell them to Chelsea. These young players at Arsenal can win championships as they have outstanding quality and belief."

So Wenger will not make a huge investment before the end of the transfer window, despite the imminent departure of Edu, which may lead to possible frustration among fans at Highbury.

While a club record fee was spent on Reyes a year ago, the Arsenal manager is not willing to endanger the club's financial security, especially before the new stadium project is complete. He will therefore continue with signings such as the £1m capture of the Ivory Coast international defender Emmanuel Eboué from Beveren.

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