Wenger told to raise Arsenal bids for pair

ARSENAL boss Arsene Wenger has been dealt a double blow in his efforts to patch up a threadbare rearguard after failing with bids for Mark Schwarzer and Sebastien Squillaci.

The Gunners stepped up their attempts to prise Schwarzer away from Fulham this week by lodging a second offer for the Australia goalkeeper, but the Cottagers have rejected the proposal.

And Sevilla, who yesterday held an emergency meeting to discuss Wenger’s bid for Squillaci, deemed the offer for the experienced France centre-back “insufficient”.

Despite the setbacks, Arsenal are expected to persist with both deals.

Fulham may have resisted the second bid, which is said to merely be a resubmission of the Gunners’ initial £2m offer, but have not publicly ruled out a transfer and Schwarzer is keen to move.

Sevilla are reluctant to lose a player so close to the 31 August transfer deadline unless their financial demands are met. They were, however, sufficiently open to a deal to pull Squillaci out of Wednesday’s Champions League tie to prevent him becoming cup-tied.

Sporting director Ramon Rodriguez said: “The player asked not to play because of the offer from such a big team. But, for the moment, we believe the offer is insufficient and Squillaci is still a Sevilla player.”

Wenger’s squad was further depleted yesterday when promising midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong was ruled out for six to nine months after rupturing cruciate ligaments.

But the manager does expect captain Cesc Fabregas, striker Robin van Persie and utility man Alex Song to return against Blackpool tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Tottenham look set to sign ex-Gunners captain William Gallas. The Frenchman, released in June, will have a medical today.