Cabaye bid fails as Wenger eyes midfield recruits

Frank Dalleres
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ARSENAL have prioritised signing a midfielder following the injuries suffered to Mikel Arteta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain but saw a bid for Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye rejected yesterday.

The Magpies turned down an offer of around £11m for the France international, while the Gunners are also thought to have made enquiries regarding Paul Pogba of Juventus and Sevilla’s Geoffrey Kondogbia.

Newcastle are understood to want more than £20m for a player who arrived from Lille for £4.8m two years ago. Cabaye’s absence from Alan Pardew’s team to face Manchester City last night has fuelled speculation that the 27-year-old is interested in a move.

Pogba would be a far more expensive proposition, though even a bid of £20m is considered unlikely to tempt the Italian champions into selling the 20-year-old, who only arrived from Manchester United 12 months ago.

Kondogbia, another French youngster noted for adding muscle in midfield, has been linked with a move away from Andalusia this summer, despite only joining from Lille a year ago.

Manager Arsene Wenger had made efforts to strengthen his midfield earlier this summer, with interest lodged for Everton’s Marouane Fellaini and a failed bid for Clement Grenier of Lyon.

But, more recently, he has appeared to switch attention to strikers, namely Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and, to a lesser extent, Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, in what has been a fruitless transfer window for the Gunners.

Injuries to Arteta, Arsenal’s de facto captain and metronome who is facing six weeks out, and Oxlade-Chamberlain, who limped out of Saturday’s defeat to Aston Villa, have depleted options ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Fenerbahce.

Wenger is under increasing pressure to spend the estimated £70m at his disposal, with fan unrest at free transfer Yaya Sanogo’s sole arrival compounded by the 3-1 home loss to Villa.

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