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Aug 17, 2012

Wenger: Song could leave

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that Alex Song could be the next player to leave the club, with Barcelona set to seal a move for him.

Wenger was unusually open about the possibility of further exits from the Emirates Stadium after Robin van Persie moved closer to completing a £24 million transfer to Manchester United. Pressed on the subject ahead of Saturday's season opener, Wenger replied: "Both could happen, but my focus is on the Sunderland game. This decision (on Song) is not made."

Asked if the Gunners had received a bid, he replied: "No. I cannot tell you more."

Wenger suggested he would be open to a sale, given the number of players at his disposal.

"Midfield is a different area because we have nine or ten midfielders of top-class quality," he said. "Just today we have six or seven midfielders available, plus Wilshere and Frimpong who are coming back. Diaby is available again, Arteta, Cazorla, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain now plays central midfield - this is an area we have much more freedom to make decisions."

El Mundo Deportivo believes Arsenal are holding out for €25 million for Song, but Barcelona are only willing to offer €20 million. Even so, Adriano this week became the latest Barca player to speak positively about the prospect of his arrival.

"He is a very good player," Adriano said. "In our matches against them you could see he is a footballer with a lot of quality. He would be welcome here and well received."

Real Madrid midfielder Nuri Sahin has been linked as a replacement for Song, and the Arsenal boss said he was considering his options.

"He [Sahin] is one of the players we are following," Wenger said. "Anyway, I am happy with my midfield options whatever happens with Song. In fact, I feel we are better prepared this season than we have been for some time. We have so many options and even though we are all disappointed to lose Van Persie, the squad we have is strong in every department."

Meanwhile, Thomas Vermaelen was appointed as the new Arsenal captain with Mikel Arteta handed the vice-captaincy.

"It is Vermaelen and Arteta," Wenger said. "Vermaelen was vice-captain, so it is a quick decision. I think we have many potential captains in the squad, but at the moment it will be like that."

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