Arsenal make shock move for Mariappa
Arsene Wenger is ready to shore up Arsenal's leaky defence by making a shock move for Watford's Adrian Mariappa on January transfer deadline day, according to The Sun.
Wenger has decided to act after being jeered a section of the crowd for the second match in a row after going down 2-0 to Aston Villa at half time on Sunday.
The Gunners boss reiterated his confidence in his existing squad after a brilliant second-half comeback sealed a 3-2 win and a place in the fifth round of the FA Cup
Despite initially insisting he would not make any transfer window signings, Wenger is making a bid for Mariappa who he watched in Watford's home FA Cup defeat by Tottenham last Friday.
Newcastle have been haggling over a price for the 25-year-old, who can play either at right-back or centre-back.
Toon chief Alan Pardew has offered £1.5 million so far.
While Watford are demanding £4 million, they will accept just over £2 million.
Mariappa would be seen only as a squad player but he would spur more competition.
It was only 24 hours earlier that Wenger had told reporters that it would be a miracle if they bring reinforcements before Tuesday’s 11pm deadline.
Wenger said: “I cannot say ‘nothing’ will happen but it will be a little bit of a miracle now. The biggest thing for us is to get our players back. When you look at the bench today, we had top quality.”
In a separate interview shortly afterwards, Wenger said “certainly not” to the possibility of any new acquisitions before teasing supporters by saying “but you never know”.
However, there could be a short-term departure from the club, with Wenger admitting that he was weighing up whether Japanese winger Ryo Miyaichi will be sent out on loan for the rest of the season.
But the Arsenal manager explained that Miyaichi will only be loaned to an English club, in order to protect his home-grown eligibility. Miyaichi has been heavily linked with a switch to Valenciennes in France.
Meanwhile, Wenger has received an encouraging medical bulletin with regard to Jack Wilshere, who suffered a setback in his rehabilitation from ankle surgery in training last week, but the manager said he is waiting for further news from the specialists dealing with his recovery before knowing when the England international can resume fitness work.
Wenger said: “The first news we have had is quite good and better than what I expected. I hope it will only be a short setback.
“I spoke to Jack today. There will be more tests this week. But I don’t know when he will start training. I didn’t speak to the medical department today.”
Wenger also revealed that injury-plagued midfielder Abou Diaby will return to the club on Tuesday after a spell in rehab but “the earliest he will play will be the end of February”.
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