Backpage Roundup: Gunners Linked With Summer Move for Mignolet, Wenger Still Confident, Campbell Open to Betis’ Stay, Wilshere’s Injury and More

Gunners Interested in £10 Million-Rated Sunderland Goalie

Arsenal FC will try and sign Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet in the summer transfer window, according to a report published by The Independent.

Coach Arsene Wenger has apparently lost patience with Wojciech Szczesny’s inconsistency and Lukasz Fabianski’s poor fitness record and would like to bring the Black Cats number one at Emirates Stadium.

Mignolet’s signature wouldn’t come for cheap though as Sunderland rate him at around £10 million, and several other clubs are also interested in acquiring his services.

It should be noted that Mignolet has made the highest number of saves in the Barclays Premier League this season. He has also kept 10 clean sheets so far this term, a record which is inferior only to that of Joe Hart, Pepe Reina and Petr Cech.

Wenger Confident of Top-Four Finish despite Dropped Points

Arsenal FC may have dropped two valuable points in Tuesday-night’s 0-0 draw with Everton at Emirates Stadium, but their coach Arsene Wenger is still confident of achieving a top-four finish in the Barclays Premier League this season.

The stalemate means that the Gunners only have a two-point lead over Chelsea and Tottenham but have played two more games than the former and one more than the latter. Despite the setback, the French trainer looked upbeat when talking to Sky Sports in a post-match interview last night.

He said: “We are in a strong position still, but let’s win the next game. We can only take care of our results. I think we are on a very strong run and as you could see we are ready for a fight, if we keep this fighting spirit, which we will, I am sure we will get there.”

Wenger then complained that the referee Neil Swarbrick failed to protect his players from some tough tackling by the Toffees, as he said: “I felt that the referee let a lot through on their side in the first half, but we adapted well and we responded very well physically and overall we kept a clean sheet – that was the target – and we wanted to score goals. We had the chances to score, maybe we looked too much for power and not enough just to place the ball.”

Campbell Open to Betis Stay

Real Betis’ on-loan Arsenal striker Joel Campbell wouldn’t mind staying at the Andalusian club for another season, according to his agent Joaquim Batica.

The 20-year-old Costa Rican has impressed for the Verdiblancos this season, scoring two goals and providing three assists in 25 games. As a result, the Primera Division outfit have shown interest in extending his loan deal by another season, and the player’s agent says his client would be willing to stay.

In an interview with MARCA, Batica said: “There is much speculation about his future. He belongs to Arsenal and is on loan at Betis. It is true that Betis want to extend the loan, but nothing has been decided or agreed. The Spanish club have made it known to Arsenal and to myself what they want, but nothing has happened as yet. He is happy at Betis because the goals he set at the beginning of the season have been met.

“There is interest from several clubs across Europe. He has had a great season and it is normal that other teams want to sign him, but it is difficult to say what the future will hold. He wants to play and grow. It is possible that he could stay on at Betis, but eventually he will return to London because he belongs to Arsenal.”

Wenger Won’t Take Gamble on Wilshere’s Fitness Again

Arsene Wenger has admitted that he was wrong to rush Jack Wilshere back into action ahead of schedule and has vowed not to repeat that mistake again.

Wilshere, 21, didn’t seem to be at his physical best when Wenger ended his six-week injury layoff in last weekend’s 3-1 win over Norwich City. In his hour-long outing, he lacked his trademark energy, leading to suggestions that he might not have been fully fit, and the Arsenal boss has confirmed those fears.

Considering that he missed more than a year of football due to his left ankle injury, a gamble on Wilshere’s fitness was probably not the best decision and Wenger knows it.

In an interview with Arsenal Player, Wenger said: “I rushed Jack back a bit. He was not completely ready. How careful have I to be? To listen well to the medical advice and that is what I have to do, use him when everything is all right and listen to him as well, how he feels. Jack has been out for six weeks, so maybe it was a bit too rushed, what I did.

“I will get advice from the medical department and how he feels as well and as well use my experience and the fact I know him very well. He practices with me since he was 16, so I know quite well how his body responds to things.”

Pog Also Rubbishes Arshavin Retirement Rumours

Reading striker Pavel Pogrebnyak doesn’t think his Russian teammate Andrey Arshavin will retire when his contract with his current club Arsenal expires at the end of the season.

Last week, reports emerged that Arshavin is so disillusioned with the plight of his career that he might quit the beautiful game altogether in the summer. The player himself denied those media claims and now his countryman Pogrebnyak has also done the same.

Izvestia.ru have quoted Pogrebnyak as saying: “In response to those rumours that Arshavin will end his career I can only say one thing – this is nonsense. Andrei is full of desire to play football on a high level and become a useful member of the team. When he played during the season he had one of his best performances when he got the chance.”

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