Wenger makes £4m swoop for Trabelsi

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Arsenal are poised to sign the Ajax defender Hatem Trabelsi for £4m as Arsène Wenger makes a further incursion into the transfer market even before the future of the club captain, Patrick Vieira, and the potential £30m revenue his sale could bring, is resolved.

Arsenal are poised to sign the Ajax defender Hatem Trabelsi for £4m as Arsène Wenger makes a further incursion into the transfer market even before the future of the club captain, Patrick Vieira, and the potential £30m revenue his sale could bring, is resolved.

Trabelsi, a right-back, had also been hotly pursued by Newcastle, but Wenger moved swiftly yesterday to ensure he beat the Tynesiders to the Tunisian and to send a message to Vieira that Arsenal intend to underpin their squad in order to maintain their hold on the Premiership title in the face of strengthened outfits at Chelsea and Manchester United.

With cash in reserve, another Wenger signing before the start of the season remains a possibility, although the loss of Vieira also remains a threat.

Zinedine Zidane, widely reported to be the driving force behind Real's attempt to wrest Vieira from Highbury, yesterday admitted that he had been consulted on the possibility of his France team-mate moving to the Bernabeu. Zidane is rumoured to have told Florentino Perez, the Real president, that Vieira is the man to bolster the club's midfield and add the defensive element which was missing during the last trophyless season. However, Zidane has played down his influence, but confirmed that Perez had asked his opinion on Vieira.

"I cannot confirm all the things that were written," Zidane said. "Saying who should be coming to the club is not my role. I spoke with the president because he asked me for information on Patrick. I said to him, like everybody else, that Vieira is one of the best at this position. But it is not me who makes the decisions on the team."

Middlesbrough, meanwhile, are keen on a less glamourous Arsenal midfielder, Ray Parlour, and have put in a £2m offer for the player who has one year left on his contract at Highbury.

Patrick Kluivert's proposed move to Newcastle could be concluded by the end of this week. Freddy Shepherd, the club's chairman, is expected to meet the player's representatives in the next couple of days in an attempt to thrash out a deal. Shepherd has also renewed his pursuit of the Manchester United midfielder Nicky Butt.

Stan Lazaridis has agreed a two-year deal with Birmingham City, keeping him at the club until 2006.

Comments