Sunday, 8 September 2013

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger sets his sights on German targets for future ... -

Arsenal broke their transfer record on Monday when they completed the £42? million signing of Özil from Real Madrid but they have still kept around £30?million of their transfer budget.

They will also benefit from enhanced annual commercial revenues in 2014 of £70? million, a change that will allow them to join Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Manchester United among the top five revenue-generating clubs in the world.

It all means that Wenger has been given the green light by Stan Kroenke, Arsenal's majority owner, to continue chasing players of Özil's calibre and price bracket.

The overriding priority is still a striker and, despite two failed bids for Liverpool's Luis Suárez during the summer, they retain a strong interest.

Wayne Rooney's situation at Manchester United will also be closely monitored, with the club hoping that the arrival of Özil will help persuade other leading stars of world football to join them.

The prospect of playing in front of Özil, Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott should be in Arsenal's favour when they approach leading strikers.

Having missed out on a deadline day loan move for Demba Ba, of Chelsea, they are also interested in the Uruguay and Palermo striker Abel Hernández.

Arsenal's squad is clearly short of recognised strikers, with Olivier Giroud backed up by Nicklas Bendtner and, if they move from their usual wide positions, Walcott and Podolski.

Wenger is generally content with his options elsewhere and still expects Thomas Vermaelen, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mikel Arteta, currently injured, to make major contributions this season.

He has also not given up hope on Abou Diaby, who suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in March, but is now back in training following his latest operation.

Arsenal, meanwhile, took disciplinary action on Friday against academy coach Mark Arber after he suggested on Twitter that he had placed a bet on the club signing Özil.

Football Association rules state that bets cannot be made relating to clubs, competitions or events over "which you have any influence, either direct or indirect".

The rule adds: "The above includes all bets related to the following: Any other events involving your club or other clubs playing in the same league competition."

Arber, a former Dagenham & Redbridge and Dartford defender, whose father Bobby has also worked for Arsenal as a scout, posted the Tweet on his personal account, @1Arbs, on Monday. It said: "Lovely bit of 14-1 Mesut."

Arsenal issued a statement on Friday morning to say that they were conducting an investigation and then, late in the afternoon, another to confirm that action had been taken.

"We take this very seriously," said a club spokesman. "Following an investigation we have taken appropriate action in relation to a casual worker. All Arsenal employees and workers are well aware of their responsibilities in this respect."

Arsenal were not last night willing to expand on the nature of the disciplinary action or indeed comment on whether Arber had kept his job.

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