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Zenit sign Bart Simpson

The Toe Poke 7 hours ago
Read
 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 14, 2008

Wenger 'certain' of a new Arsenal signing

Arsene Wenger is 'certain' he will be able to add another body to his Arsenal squad before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

The Gunners returned from Holland with their objective of moving closer to the lucrative group stages of the Champions League complete following a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Steve McClaren's FC Twente in Arnhem.

However, it was again a young side that Wenger was forced to field at the Gelredome, where Wales teenager Aaron Ramsey made his competitive debut alongside 20-year-old Brazilian Denilson in midfield because of an injury to key man Cesc Fabregas.

The Spanish Euro 2008 winner, who has a hamstring problem, is set to also miss the start of the domestic Premier League season against West Bromwich Albion at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

While £12million summer signing Samir Nasri may well have recovered from his niggling thigh and knee complaint in time to face the Baggies, the likes of Abou Diaby - Wenger's first-choice partner for Fabregas - Tomas Rosicky, new arrival Amaury Bischoff and Olympian Alex Song will be unavailable for some time.

Wenger accepts the squad remain 'one body light' in midfield, and will now step up the quest to bring in another fresh face.

Udinese's £8million-rated Swiss international Gokhan Inler, Gareth Barry, Xabi Alonso and even Yaya Toure, brother of Arsenal defender Kolo, have all been named as possible targets.

'Will something be done ahead of the second leg? Certainly yes, but before Saturday, no,' said Wenger.

However, given the current absentees, the Arsenal manager accepts when everyone is eventually fit, he will be left with something of a welcome selection headache.

'If you look at the number of players we had out, you can say it was very positive for us with the result against Twente,' he said.

'We did not have Diaby, Fabregas, Rosicky, Nasri, Kolo Toure, Eduardo, (Philippe) Senderos, Song at the Olympics.

'We missed seven or eight players. Our squad looks big because the players who were with us did well.'

Wenger must also now decide whether to accept Middlesbrough's offer for defender Justin Hoyte, who was in the squad last night but did not play.

Toure, who has a hip problem, meanwhile, could well be back in contention this weekend - but even if Nasri is also available, the Arsenal manager may well look to give his young midfield pairing another chance to impress.

He said: 'I think centrally I feel Denilson, 20, and Ramsey, 17, in a game of that level, they did very well.

'I do not know yet about the next game. I have to think about that because they gave a lot.

'The game on Saturday morning comes very quickly, but in fairness I am not in a position where I can make many changes at the moment.'

Arsenal will expect their Premier League campaign to get off to a flyer when the newly-promoted Baggies visit Emirates Stadium.

Having set the pace for much of last season, Arsenal's challenge then faded over the run-in as both Chelsea and Manchester United overtook them in the title race.

However, in the end, only four points separated the top three.

And full-back Gael Clichy expects the Gunners to continue to close the gap.

He said: 'The objective is for us to progress so we will try. We have the quality to compete in this league.

'We will show everyone and if we progress we have the chance to win the title.

'Of course Man United and Chelsea are strong sides - as are Liverpool and Tottenham, building new teams - but I am really confident with the quality we have got.

'I can't wait for the season to start. It is going to be an exciting one and we will be up for it.'

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