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Milner could lead Arsenal influx

ESPN staff
May 19, 2014 « Courtois warns Chelsea over game time | Fabianski set to leave Arsenal »
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James Milner could lead a trio of signings for Arsene Wenger this summer after the Arsenal manager pledged to bolster his squad for next season.

Arsenal ended their nine-year trophy drought on Saturday with a dramatic 3-2 FA Cup final win over Hull in extra-time at Wembley and Wenger is now eyeing additions to ensure his side's Premier League title challenge doesn't fade again next season.

Wenger is unsure about the futures of Bacary Sagna - believed to be a target for Manchester City - and Lukasz Fabianski, who are both out of contract this summer, but identified the need to strengthen.

Wenger set to pass 20 years

Arsene Wenger ended his nine-year trophy drought on Saturday © Getty Images
  • Arsene Wenger is set to sign a new three-year contract in the next 48 hours that will take him into a third decade at Arsenal.
  • The manager, who has been at the helm of the club for 18 years, confirmed he will wrap up the deal before he leaves for the World Cup, where he will act as a pundit for French television.
  • Wenger said: "Yes [it will be done], because I go to Brazil on the 10th of June."

"First, we have to wait for Sagna - what will he do? - and Fabianski. After, we have to bring in two or three players to strengthen the squad that is for sure," Wenger, who has been looking for a striker and defensive midfielder, said.

"Unfortunately, everywhere we go, there are many teams on the market at the moment."

Milner could be the first in line to sign up at the Emirates Stadium and, according to the The Times, informed City last month that he wants to leave in search of regular first-team football, having played a peripheral role in their Premier League title success.

Milner has started just 71 of 152 matches since moving to City from Aston Villa in 2010 and only 12 of 38 this season.

The midfielder's desire to move could be complicated by City's need to meet UEFA and Premier League home-grown player quotas.

City were hit with a £49 million fine by European football's governing body last week and will see their Champions League squad reduced to 21 players next season over Financial Fair Play breaches.

Milner is set to be offered a new four-year deal at City but the 28-year-old is said to prefer the idea of walking out on a free transfer in a year's time rather than extending his stay at the Etihad Stadium.

Arsenal are expected to contact City this week with a view to making a £10 million bid for Milner as Wenger is said to see a role for Milner as a defensive midfielder where he feels he can add leadership rather than on the wing, where he has primarily played for City under Manuel Pellegrini.

Liverpool are also thought to have expressed an interest in signing Milner this summer with Brendan Rodgers targeting up to six new additions to his squad in preparation for their return to the Champions League.

Rodgers reportedly sees Milner as a replacement for Lucas Leiva though is considering other targets.

City could be hit hard by home-grown player quote requirements, with Joleon Lescott and Gareth Barry both due to leave on free transfers while Micah Richards, Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair all surplus to requirements under Pellegrini.

Wenger's shopping list

  • A comeback win over Hull in the FA Cup final showed the Arsenal players have some fight in them, but changes are still required.
  • So, what does Arsene Wenger need to do in order to end Arsenal's 11-year wait for the Premier League league title?
  • ESPN FC's Max Bentley runs down the names that Wenger has marked "wanted".
  • Click here to continue reading

Milner was just one of three home-grown players to feature regularly for City this season along with Joe Hart and Gael Clichy, who came through the Arsenal youth ranks.

City's need to meet the quota could see them offer new contracts to third-choice goalkeeper Richard Wright and defender Dedryck Boyata.

UEFA have yet to confirm whether City's reduced 21-man Champions League squad would have to include at least four home-grown players, while eight will be required for the Premier League.

If City also miss out on securing a fee for Milner by letting him run down his contract, that could affect the club's ability to meet UEFA's demand they make a maximum loss of £8.1m next season.

The club's net transfer spend also cannot exceed £49m, which could complicate attempts to sign more players who qualify as home-grown.

City are reportedly proceeding with plans to try to sign Eliaquim Mangala and Fernando from Porto as well as opening talks with Sagna.

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