Arsenal say Manuel Almunia could leave

Arsene Wenger has confirmed there is a "small chance" Manuel Almunia could leave Arsenal during the January transfer window.

The 33-year-old has not played since the 3-2 home defeat by West Brom on September 25 because of first an elbow problem and then an ankle injury picked up when training with the reserves.

In his absence both Lukasz Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny have staked their claim for the Gunners number one jersey.

Galatasaray, Malaga and Atletico Madrid are all said to be tracking the veteran Spaniard, whose contract runs out in 2012.

Wenger maintains no firm decision has been made either way, but when pressed if there was a possibility Almunia could leave, the Arsenal manager said: "There is a small chance. Yes, I have had a chat with him, but nothing is decided.

"We are in no-man's land at the moment on that front."

Wenger, meanwhile, indicated a decision would be made next week on the loan destination for Carlos Vela.

The 21-year-old Mexican forward has seen his first-team chances limited this season, with the likes of Marouane Chamakh, Nicklas Bendtner, Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott all ahead of him in the Gunners pecking order.

Bolton are keen to take the pacy Vela to Reebok Stadium, where midfielder Jack Wilshere enjoyed a productive spell last season which helped him breakthrough into an Arsenal first-team regular now.

Wenger confirmed a number of clubs at home and in Europe had offered Vela the chance of some match action.

"We have a choice and that is basically the problem because he has the choice as well and we need him to feel comfortable to go where he would like to go," said the Arsenal manager.

"At the moment we have requests from France, Spain, England and we have to sort that out.

"Because players of his quality on loan on a market that is very restricted money-wise, you have an abundance of clubs who want him. There are about three or four in the Premier League."

Wenger added: "I would prefer him to stay in England, because it is easier for us to go and watch him, to come to conclusions as it is much easier to compare in the Premier League than if he goes to another country."

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