Arsenal plotting £8million summer move for Joe Hart
Published 22:45 17/04/10 By Steve Stammers Exclusive
Joe Hart is a potential £8million target as Arsene Wenger steps up his search for a new goalkeeper.
Arsenal manager Wenger is also looking for a central defender and a midfielder to add to the arrival of striker Marouane Chamakh on a free transfer from Bordeaux.
Cash is available to strengthen a squad which has been depleted by the absence of six key players as this season approaches its finale.
The 2-1 defeat to Tottenham last week means Arsenal are set to finish a fifth successive season without a major trophy – and Wenger wants to ensure his squad is equipped to deal with future mishaps.
Hart is on loan at Birmingham from Manchester City. He is due to return to the North-West at the end of the season but will find himself behind Shay Given in the pecking order at Eastlands.
Hart’s form has been so impressive with Birmingham that he has been talked about as a possible for Fabio Capello’s England squad for the World Cup finals.
At 23, Hart will not be happy to be the understudy to Given and Wenger will have him watched in the closing matches of the season. Also on the Arsenal radar is West Ham’s Robert Green.
In central defence, 21-year-old Dane Simon Kjaer of Palermo has been the subject of impressive reports and Wenger has also monitored Bolton’s Gary Cahill.
New arrivals will put a question mark against the futures of several current players.
Gael Clichy is being watched by Spanish and Italian clubs. Wenger would listen to offers around the £7.5m mark in the knowledge that Kieran Gibbs is a ready-made replacement.
In midfield, Wenger clearly wants to add a combative edge and Kevin Nolan of Newcastle has made a huge impact in the Championship. He has been the inspiration behind the club’s immediate return to the Premier League.
At 28, Nolan is older than Wenger’s usual targets but he has a steely side to his game and that is what Wenger feels has been lacking.
Arsenal could also be interested in the versatile James Milner, who has had such an impressive season with Aston Villa and England.
Wenger, whose men travel to Wigan today, admits Arsenal will never be able to compete financially with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United – but he is convinced they can compete on the field. Wenger said: “Our financial situation is becoming stronger and we will be capable of buying the players we need.
“All the top players cannot go to Chelsea. There are players outside of what Chelsea want to buy that are good enough for us.” He also stressed that a freakish run of injuries contributed to Arsenal’s failure to make a final push for the title.
“If you go into the final push without Fabregas, Gallas, Van Persie, Arshavin and Song – well, if you take Xavi and Messi from Barcelona, I want to see what they would do.”
Wenger added: “The club has never been in a stronger situation. It has a fantastic stadium, fantastic training facilities, it is in a fantastic financial situation and we gave a very young team that is playing at the top.
“All the ingredients are here to be very successful and I believe we will be.”