Arsenal on verge of £16m swoop for Spain winger Santi Cazorla
Arsenal have moved to tie-up the future of Laurent Koscielny, and look set to further bolster the squad with a £16million coup for Spain winger Santi Cazorla.
The Gunners this afternoon came from behind to beat a Malaysia XI 2-1 in the opening match of their Asia tour at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil, with late goals from youngsters Thomas Eisfeld and Benik Afobe.
France international Koscielny was one of several first-team players not part of the 24-man squad following his involvement at Euro 2012.
However, the 26-year-old, signed from Lorient in 2010, remains an integral part of Arsene Wenger's long-term plans.
On announcing the deal, the Arsenal manager told the club's official website, http://www.arsenal.com: "Laurent has been outstanding for us over the last two seasons.
"When you consider that until 2009 he was playing in Ligue 2 in France and that he is now performing at the very top level in the Premier League and for his country, the development that he has shown has been absolutely exceptional.
"Laurent is a top-class player and I am very pleased he has decided to commit his future to the club."
Following a shaky start, Koscielny has grown into his defensive role, which has often been alongside different central partners because of injuries.
"I am delighted to have reached agreement with the club," he said.
"I have had a fantastic time here and look forward to an exciting future with Arsenal."
Captain Robin van Persie is also not on the Asia tour, with speculation over his future continuing.
Arsenal now head to Beijing, where they will play Manchester City in the Bird's Nest Stadium on Friday, with the Barclays Premier League champions said to be ready to meet Van Persie's £190,000-a-week wages if not Arsenal's £30million valuation.
It appears, though, Arsenal are set to add to a squad which has already seen German striker Lukas Podolski and France forward Olivier Giroud.
Malaga have severe financial problems and although they have so far publicly rebuffed suggestions Cazorla will have to be sold off to balance the books, it has been reported a basic agreement is now in place for the 27-year-old to join the Gunners.
Further additions are also expected, regardless of Van Persie's future - with Rennes midfielder Yann M'Vila, Barcelona's Ibrahim Afellay and Corinthians midfielder Paulinho all reported targets.
Arsenal will also look to jettison fringe players this summer to help trim the wage bill, with Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner and Russian winger Andrey Arshavin both expected to move on.
England forward Theo Walcott, however, insists he is not taking any notice of speculation over his future, with talks on a new deal set to resume.
Walcott said on Sky Sports: "It was always going to be (a case of) hold back until the end of the Euros. We continue to talk and we'll just see where it goes.
"I am an honest guy. I like to get on with my job. I have got to work on pre-season, I don't want any distractions.
"Like I say, my agent and the club will continue to talk and when there's something to know I will get involved."
A tight game could be in prospect here. Northampton have been keeping things very tight of late and ...
by Gareth Purnell
18 May 2013 02:01 AM
I can’t ever watch games of football or rugby without wistfully wondering what it must be like to be...
by Martin Ayres
16 May 2013 05:10 PM
Since PSG’s exit to Barcelona in the Uefa Champions League quarter-final in April, PSG have been sur...
by Matthew Riding
15 May 2013 02:37 PM
Stoke City investigate 'religious abuse' after 'pig's head is found in Kenwyne Jones' locker'
Is David Beckham one of the Premier League all-time greats? He's not even in the top 1,000 says Chris Waddle
Groundhog day looms for Arsène Wenger as Arsenal battle for a place in the Champions League on final day
Andre Villas-Boas ready to spark Tottenham revolution
One last swipe at Manchester City and then Sir Alex Ferguson was gone...
- 1 Stoke City investigate 'religious abuse' after 'pig's head is found in Kenwyne Jones' locker'
- 2 Gove’s lesson: spare the comma, spoil the child
- 3 Heading for America? Prepare for the longest US immigration queues ever
- 4 Grace Dent on TV: Extreme Couponing, My Strange Addiction, and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, TLC
- 5 Join Ryanair! See the world! But we'll only pay you for nine months a year
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.