Football Football

Wenger ‘ready’ to splash on Dzeko, Cavani in January


LONDON, England, November 12- Arsene Wenger is ready to break the bank at last with a £30million bid for Napoli striker Edinson Cavani with Man City striker Edin Dzeko also emerging as a top target as the Frenchman bids to save Arsenal’s season.

Wenger is ready to act in January after watching his side fall 11 points off the pace in the Premier League title race following a 3-3 draw at home against Fulham on Saturday.

Wenger has also reportedly made Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko his top target after being given the green light to go on a January splurge to revive Arsenal’s precarious Champions League qualification hopes.

The Frenchman has identified three key areas: a keeper, a wide attacking player and a central striker, with Dzeko the shock contender to become Arsenal’s centre forward. The Bosnian has grown frustrated at his lack of first-team action at the Etihad Stadium and Wenger wants to exploit the uncertainty.

Athletic Bilbao forward Fernando Llorente and Atletico Madrid striker Adrian Lopez are also high on the Frenchman’s hitlist.

Arsenal will also make a £9million offer for Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha. Palace chairman Steve Parish rates the England Under 21 star at £20m — but an offer of around £15m could be enough to prise the 20-year-old away.

Swansea’s Michel Vorm remains a strong contender in the club’s search for a keeper. Arsenal have watched the Dutchman extensively while they will also keep a close eye on Pepe Reina’s situation at Liverpool. Wenger is a huge fan of the Spain squad man and attempted to sign him in 2010.

Given the financial implications of missing out on a top-four finish, genuine fears are emerging within the Gunners hierarchy that this could be the season they drop out of Europe’s elite club competition.

And worries over the squad’s strength in depth, particularly in attacking positions, will see Wenger move in January’s transfer window.

The Arsenal manager has been under massive pressure from fans and shareholders to start splashing big money in a bid to end the club’s eight-year wait for a trophy, and he has decided 25-year-old Uruguay forward Cavani is top priority after getting a glowing report on the player from chief scout Steve Rowley.

The Gunners’ talent spotter travelled to Italy last Thursday for a personal check on the player and he could hardly have picked a more opportune occasion to assess his talents as the striker scored all four goals as his side came from behind to beat Ukrainian club Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 4-2 in the Europa League.

Wenger has been criticised by Arsenal fans disgruntled because he has not bought a replacement for Robin van Persie, who scored the opening goal against Arsenal to set Manchester United up for a 2-1 victory over the London club at Old Trafford last weekend.

But it will take a major offer to tempt Napoli to part with Cavani, especially as the striker has backed up his decision to sign a new five-year contract last May by insisting he wants to improve on his record of 79 goals in 108 matches.

He is chasing the legendary Diego Maradona’s all-time Napoli record of 115 goals. Cavani’s goals on Thursday earned him his sixth Napoli hat-trick.

He found the net against Chelsea and Manchester City in last season’s Champions League.

City had been keen to land Cavani, whose four goals in midweek took him to 12 in 12 games for the season, before the striker signed his new deal.