Arsenal will not be pursuing their interest in the Internazionale midfielder Patrick Vieira, but Arsène Wenger is considering a move for the Fulham defender Brede Hangeland he revealed yesterday. Marouane Chamakh, however, is not an option unless Bordeaux lower their price.
With Kolo Touré sold to Manchester City and Philippe Senderos seemingly on his way to Everton, a central defender would seem to be a priority. Wenger, while pointing out that they still have five centre-backs on their books, confirmed that Hangeland is a potential target. "We have had a look at him, yes," he said. "We have not contacted Fulham, not contacted Hangeland, not made our choice on him or anybody else." Fulham have presented the Norway captain with a new contract offer, but he has not yet responded to that, and their manager Roy Hodgson has seemingly accepted that it would be hard to stand in his way should Arsenal bid.
Wenger said last week that he would make a decision on Vieira this week, and he was clear on the conclusion he had reached. "No," he said, "not at the moment."
Bordeaux's demand of a reported £15m has put Wenger off Chamakh – at least for now. "We had an interest in him," he said, "but he's rated far too high for us." With the Moroccan forward seemingly desperate to leave, though, it is possible his price could fall before the transfer deadline.
"We could still do with one player more, one or two: one in the defensive areas or one in attacking areas," Wenger said, although he stressed how important will be the return of Eduardo and Tomas Rosicky after long-term injuries – even if Rosicky has suffered a complication and could be out for a further six weeks. And then there is the potential of the 17-year-old forward Jack Wilshere. "He reminds me a bit of Rooney when he started, in his belief and in his positive attitude to go forward," Wenger said.
Arsenal yesterday kicked off the Club's Charity of the Season partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity. To donate go to www.beagoonerbeagiver.org