Wenger's attention turns to M'Vila after Mertesacker deal

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The Independent Online

Arsene Wenger yesterday moved to spend around a quarter of his reputed £80m transfer kitty, including a deal in the region of £10m for the experienced Germany centre-half Per Mertesacker.

The 26-year-old was given a day's leave from the Germans' training base in Dusseldorf by the national manager Joachim Löw yesterday to undergo a medical for a move to Arsenal. The club confirmed the signing of South Korea captain Park Chu-young for around £3m and are completing a £6m deal for Andre Santos, the Brazilian left-back.

Arsenal's lack of defensive options was horribly exposed at Old Trafford on Sunday and the arrival of the 6ft 6in Mertesacker, who is set to win a 76th cap for Germany against Austria on Friday, offers much needed stature and composure at the heart of the back line. Arsenal's interest in the Bolton centre-half Gary Cahill is said to have cooled with Mertesacker's impending arrival.

Like Mertesacker, Santos, who at 28 is two years older than the German, is significantly more experienced than Wenger's previous recruits in this window. Santos has amassed a reputation as an attacking full-back, first with Corinthians and last season with Fenerbahce. He was part of the Brazil squad for this summer's Copa America, missing a penalty in their quarter-final shoot-out defeat by Paraguay.

Wenger's attention today is likely to move forward with Yann M'Vila, the Rennes midfielder, still a target, although the French club's valuation of the player remains somewhat higher than Arsenal's. Marvin Martin, Sochaux's creative midfielder, is another who has interested Wenger.

The Czech defender Zdenek Grygera is another imminent arrival in the capital. He has been released by Juventus ahead of a move to Fulham, who are also reported to have agreed a £10.6m fee with Dutch side FC Twente for highly-rated Costa Rican winger Bryan Ruiz.

Tottenham are expected to be one of the busier clubs ahead of tonight's 11pm deadline. Scott Parker yesterday handed in a transfer request at West Ham and Harry Redknapp said he does not "envisage too many problems now" in bringing in the England midfielder. The future of Peter Crouch is less clear. The striker has twice rejected a move to Stoke City but still seems likely to leave White Hart Lane. Sunderland have emerged as his latest suitors but are cool on Spurs' £12m valuation of Crouch.

Having been turned down by Crouch, Stoke made inquiries to Chelsea over a loan deal for striker Romelu Lukaku, but Premier League rules prevent a player moving on loan in the same transfer window that he joined his parent club.

Newcastle have signed Davide Santon from Internazionale for £5m. The 20-year-old has been recruited as a replacement for Jose Enrique. When he first broke into the Inter team he was described as the "new Paolo Maldini" but he finished last season on loan at Cesena. The young Charlton goalkeeper Rob Elliot is also heading for St James' for an undisclosed fee, while Alan Pardew is hopeful of bringing in the Freiburg's Senegal striker Papiss Demba Cissé.

The 20-year-old Uruguay central defender Sebastian Coates, part of the side that won the Copa America this summer, has joined Liverpool from Nacional, and the club are close to offloading one of Roy Hodgson's flops, midfielder Christian Poulsen, to newly-promoted Ligue 1 side Evian. Roberto Martinez has boosted Wigan's attacking options by recruiting the Almeria winger Albert Crusat and agreeing a £1m fee with Celtic for Shaun Maloney.

QPR continued to buy in the wake of their takeover by Tony Fernandes. Armand Traoré has arrived from Arsenal, while they are pursuing Anton Ferdinand and Shaun Wright-Phillips.

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