Wenger Still Keen on Benzema, Mertesacker Discussing New Arsenal Deal, Vermaelen Denies Seeking Exit, Reus Release Clause…

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Wenger Still Keen on Benzema

Arsene Wenger has stepped up his pursuit of Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and has asked Los Blancos to inform him if any decision on the player’s future is being made. (The Mirror)

Benzema, 25, started the ongoing season in poor form but has since turned things around and now has eight goals and eight assists from 16 games. As a result, he is back in favour at Santiago Bernabeu and chances of him being sold have slightly lowered. However, that hasn’t deterred Wenger, who is still keen on making an offer for his compatriot, either in January or next summer.

The Gunners went after Benzema last summer too, but the player decided against making a switch. Arsenal’s impressive start to the new season means that he may change his mind when the North Londoners formally renew their interest in him.

 

Mertesacker Discussing New Contract with Arsenal

Arsenal FC and Per Mertesacker have begun their contractual negotiations with a view to the German signing a new four-year deal with the club. (The Express)

After overcoming a difficult start to his career in North London, Mertesacker has formed an impressive partnership with Laurent Koscielny at the heart of Arsenal’s defense. And he now looks set to be rewarded for his good form, according to the circulating media reports.

The towering centre-half’s existing deal, which nets him £65,000 on weekly basis, is set to expire in the summer of 2015.

 

Vermaelen Denies Seeking Arsenal Exit

Thomas Vermaelen has rubbished media reports linking him with a move away from Arsenal FC and vowed to stay and fight for his place at the club. (The Telegraph)

The Arsenal captain isn’t a first-team regular under Arsene Wenger anymore and only gets to start for the Gunners in case Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny are injured or rested. With the World Cup set to take place next year, it was speculated that the Belgian might want to leave in January, but the player himself has denied any intention of doing so.

Vermaelen – who started in last Sunday’s 1-0 defeat against Manchester United – said: “Personally, I’m still confident I can play for this club and every chance I get I will do a job. Yes, my future is at Arsenal. At the moment there is no story. I’m not talking about it. It’s now November, but any moment things can happen. If they do, I’m ready and I’m not thinking about anything else.

“I can’t keep talking about my situation. I’ve done that with the national team and I keep on reading stories that say I want to leave. But that’s not the case. I’m still focused on the team at the moment and that’s what I want to do. I’m always positive. What I have said is that it is not about my situation but what the team does and I’m really happy that we’re top of the league.”

The Gunners’ loss to the Red Devils cut their lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League to just two points. But despite the obvious disappointment, Vermaelen is confident him and his teammates can continue their otherwise impressive start to the season.

Of course it was disappointing that we lost,” the former Ajax man added. “We wanted to win the game and went to Old Trafford to do that. We were eight points ahead of United going into the match and had the chance to make it 11 points. But we’re still top of the league and need to keep the confidence we’ve had over the last couple of weeks. There’s no reason for that to change dramatically. We’re still confident we can win games and we have a long way to go.”

 

Dortmund Confirm Reus Release Clause

Borussia Dortmund have alerted Arsenal and several other European giants by revealing that their star forward Marco Reus has a release clause in his contract with the club. (Daily Star)

Reus, 24, is one of the hottest players in Bundesliga at the moment. Last season, which was his first for Die Borussen, he scored 19 goals in 47 matches and already has 10 in 18 this term. His impressive showings have caught the eye of several big spenders, and the latest piece of news coming out of Dortmund would make him even more attractive for potential suitors.

In an interview with SPORT1media, Dortmund executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said: “Marco Reus possesses a release clause option in his current contract at our club. He could leave our club due to that. He is, however, the only player in our first-team squad that has such a contract clause.”

Rumour has it that Reus’ release clause could be triggered with a bid of £29.4million, and the Gunners, as well as the two Manchester clubs, are interested in doing so next year.

Just as it was in the case of Mario Gotze, Dortmund don’t want their prized asset to leave. However, unlike Gotze, Reus himself is not keen to head for the exit. He recently assured of his commitment to the club by telling Kicker: “I live in the here and now, and therefore I am very pleased to be a Borussia Dortmund player. I am under contract with the club until June 2017. Everything else is irrelevant, in my view.”

 

Gunners Interested in Nigeria’s U17 World Cup Winner

Arsenal FC are keeping tabs on a teenage Nigerian forward, who goes by the name of Kelechi Iheanacho, according to the Daily Star.

Iheanacho, 17, recently starred at the 2013 U17 World Cup in UAE, scoring seven goals and winning the Adidas Golden Ball for being the best player in the tournament. As a result, the starlet – who currently plays in his native country for a club named Taye Academy – is attracting interest from several top European clubs, including the Gunners.

His agent Henry Galeano told IBTimes UK: “I can confirm that Arsenal FC’s Steve Rowley, acknowledged Kelechi Iheanacho’s talents early in the World Cup and has said some very nice words about him. We’re ecstatic to have another major club like Arsenal following young Iheanacho. That said, the attention is well deserved. Iheanacho’s performance at the World Cup was indeed remarkable.

At present we are considering and evaluating all options. Our goal is to match Iheanacho with a club that fits his profile, and a club that can bring out the very best in him. If Arsenal F.C. is an option on the table, we’ll be glad to sit down and consider it. Iheanacho wouldn’t be the first Nigerian making it into the team. The thought of him following in the footsteps of the great Kanu definitely has a nice ring to it.”

 

This image is provided courtesy of msn.foxsports.com