MIKEL: WE’RE GUNNA BE IN GOOD SHAPE

Midweek Sport - - THURSDAY AUGUST 23 - By JA­COB SMITH

AR­SE­NAL vice-cap­tain Mikel Arteta in­sists the Gun­ners are in good shape, de­spite the loss of star striker Robin van Per­sie and mid­field en­forcer Alex Song.

Cameroon star Song fol­lowed Van Per­sie out of the Emi­rates this week when he signed a £15mil­lion five-year deal with Barcelona.

Ar­se­nal are expected to bring in some new faces ahead of the trans­fer dead­line – a loan move for Turk­ish i nter­na­tional Nuri Sahin is on the agenda if terms with Real Madrid can be agreed.

The club are also said to still be mon­i­tor­ing long-term tar­get Yann M’Vila at Rennes, who are hold­ing out for £17m.

Arteta be­lieves the sum­mer ad­di­tions of Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podol­ski and Santi Ca­zorla, who par­tic­u­larly im­pressed in mid­field on his de­but in the goal­less draw with Sun­der­land, mean the Gun­ners are al­ready well stocked for the bat­tles ahead.

“We are look­ing good. We looked or­gan­ised on Satur­day, but in the fi­nal third we didn’t take the chances we should have done,” Arteta said.

“It will take a while be­cause there have been new play­ers com­ing in.

“We have lost some im­por­tant play­ers too, so we will need some time.

“We know that our new play­ers can make the dif­fer­ence.

“We will have to give them a chance to set­tle into a new place.”

Arteta linked up well with Ca­zorla and Abou Di­aby, back from an in­jury lay-off, in a mid­field which was with­out its usual an­chor.

The 30-year-old added: “Last year, Alex was a ter­rific player, but if he and the club de­cided it’s best for him to leave, we have to ac­cept it.

“We are good enough to carry on with­out him.”

Rennes di­rec­tor Pierre Dre­ossi ex­pects M’Vila’s fu­ture to be re­solved one way or an­other very soon.

He said: “I think that it can be set­tled by the end of this week.”

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