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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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Arsenal eye Essien on loan

Arsenal are reportedly set to make a deadline-day swoop for Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien.

Essien has recently been linked with an £8 million transfer to Turkish club Fenerbahce, but widespread reports in the English press on Thursday evening claim the Ghana international has been targeted by Arsene Wenger. The Gunners boss is believed to be in the market for a central midfielder following the sale of Alex Song to Barcelona.

Reports suggest Wenger expressed to the Blues an interest in loaning Essien for the current season, similar to the deal which saw Yossi Benayoun move from Stamford Bridge last campaign.

However, when pressed on the issue, Wenger insisted the long-awaited returns of Jack Wilshere, Bacary Sagna and Tomas Rosicky from injury would provide Arsenal a greater boost than the addition of Essien.

"Getting our injured players back is the best way for us to strengthen the squad," Wenger said. "We do not just want to bring average players in.

"Spending in itself is not a quality. Buying good players is a quality, better players than you have is a quality."

Essien joined Chelsea from Lyon seven years ago and has since made 163 appearances, scoring 17 goals.

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