Wenger turns to former Arsenal battler Flamini

Frank Dalleres
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ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger has moved to fulfill his promise of midfield reinforcements by offering a contract to former Gunner Mathieu Flamini, who is available on a free transfer.

Flamini, who spent four seasons at the club before an acrimonious departure to AC Milan in 2008, has been training with Arsenal for the past two weeks since leaving the Italian giants.

The combative Frenchman, 29, could make his second debut for the north Londoners in tomorrow’s lunchtime Premier League trip across the capital to Fulham, but only if paperwork is completed by noon today.

Flamini’s arrival would provide some much needed cover in central midfield, with Mikel Arteta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain injured, Abou Diaby a long-term casualty and both Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere still putting their own lengthy problems behind them. The Corsican is also comfortable at full-back, where he notably featured for Arsenal during 2006/07.

Yet his signing is unlikely to placate supporters exasperated by the club’s lack of transfer activity this summer, despite their unprecedented financial strength and a budget in excess of £70m.

France youth international Yaya Sanogo, a free transfer from Auxerre, remains the sole arrival despite widely publicised interest in big-name strikers such as Wayne Rooney and Luis Suarez.

Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema is understood to be Wenger’s latest prime target, though it remains unclear whether the France centre-forward shares his compatriot’s enthusiasm for a deal.

Arsenal are also interested in Real winger Angel di Maria, and the Spanish side are thought ready to listen to offers as they look to offset a close season of huge expenditure.

The Gunners are still considering whether to increase their offer for Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye, while Swansea’s Ashley Williams is the most likely reinforcement in central defence.