Wenger will not rush Fabregas and Van Persie

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The Independent Online

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will take a long-term view on World Cup winner Cesc Fabregas and runner-up Robin van Persie rather than thrust the duo into full-blown Barclays Premier League action too soon.

Fabregas missed the season-opening 1-1 draw at Liverpool due to illness, despite having played for Spain in Mexico only a few days before, while Holland striker Van Persie came on for the final 15 minutes at Anfield, where a last-minute own goal by Reds goalkeeper Pepe Reina handed the Gunners a point.

"To have a good season you need a good preparation so we want to especially build up Cesc and Van Persie well," said Wenger.

"They came back on August 5 and you need three to four weeks preparation if you want to do well in the Premier League."

Wenger attempted to add experienced France international defender Sebastien Squillaci - provided a deal can be struck with Sevilla for the £6.5million-rated centre-back - to his squad as he prepares for the visit of new boys Blackpool tomorrow, where a number of players are set to return from injury.

Alex Song, Denilson and Johan Djourou are expected back in the squad, but Emmanuel Frimpong followed Samir Nasri - out for up to a month after minor knee surgery - into the Arsenal treatment room after it was confirmed yesterday the 18-year-old could miss the rest of the season with knee ligament damage.

Wenger, though, is still not about to rush Fabregas and Van Persie into action.

"All are available - at different levels (of fitness)," the manager told Arsenal TV Online.

"I need to make up my mind who I integrate in the squad, but there is no major problem for anybody really.

"Denilson has not played since April 14 and did not play one minute of a game (in pre-season). He still needs to work.

"All the others are quite available - at least to be on the bench, but at the same time we do not want to rush it."

Striker Nicklas Bendtner (groin) is still not yet available, while Laurent Koscielny is suspended after his late sending off at Anfield.

Koscielny, a summer recruit from Lorient, could be joined by another defensive reinforcement in Squillaci, who requested to miss Sevilla's midweek Champions League play-off against Braga to avoid being cup-tied.

Sevilla are believed to want around £6.5million for the 30-year-old defender, who was part of Les Bleus' World Cup squad, but it would appear the Gunners have not yet matched that valuation.

"The player asked not to play because of the offer from such a big team, but, for the moment, we believe the offer is insufficient and Squillaci is still a Sevilla player," said Sevilla sporting director Ramon Rodriguez.

Another stumbling block to completing any deal is likely to be the length of contract, with Arsenal usually only offering one-year contracts to senior players.

Arsenal are also said to be keen to sign an experienced goalkeeper and have been linked with both Mark Schwarzer and Shay Given.

Meanwhile, left-back Armand Traore looks set to be leaving for Benfica after falling behind England international Kieran Gibbs in the pecking order at the Emirates Stadium.

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