Arsenal news – Gunners target Downing, Fabregas Barca deal near, Duo set for exit

Gunners target Downing.

Aston Villa winger Stewart Downing has emerged as an Arsenal transfer target as Arsene Wenger attempts to reshape his ailing squad, according to Sky Sports.

With Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri shortly expected to follow Gael Clichy out of the club, Wenger must act quickly to rid the growing sense of disharmony from within the camp and on the terraces.

It was widely reported in the Sunday tabloids that the Gunners tabled an £18m bid for the 26-year-old on Friday, with Villa Park officials posing over the offer after last week rejecting Liverpool’s £15m enquiry for the former Middlesbrough man.

Downing has reportedly expressed his desire to leave the Midlands club after last seasons disappointing campaign and the close season departure of Ashley Young.

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Fabregas Barca deal near.

The Downing deal may be hastened by the imminent departure of Fabregas to Barcelona, with club insiders hinting the deal may be concluded within the next week, according to the Metro.

The Spaniard was omitted from Arsenal’s pre-season tour of Asia citing a hamstring injury, but that excuse has fooled few as Barca and the Gunners close in on common ground over a fee.

The club have long accepted Fabregas’s departure was inevitable but were happy to play hardball in the face of Barca’s attitude towards the transfer, however, with Arsene Wenger facing a major rebuilding mission over the summer, the Frenchman may decide it is in the best interests of the club to lose of his star-man to arm himself with the funds necessary to bring in replacements.

Duo set for exit.

Also part of the Emirates exodus will be the much maligned pair of Manuel Almunia and Nicklas Bendtner after the BBC reported the not-so dynamic duo were in talks with unnamed clubs.

Bendtner and Almunia were left out of Arsenal’s 23-man squad to travel to Asia for pre-season with a Gunners source confirming this was so the pair could iron out the formalities of their transfers.

34-year-old Almunia’s patchy stay in north London will come to an end with Wenger preferring Wojciech Szcesny as his number one whilst Bendtner, 23, has ran out of opportunities after returning just nine goals last campaign, including a hat-trick against Leyton Orient in the FA Cup.

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