Football

€15 million Spain international tops Wenger’s January shopping list

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Arsenal have made Real Madrid defender Raul Albiol their new No.1 target to reinforce their defence, according to reports.

Albiol has lost his first team place since Jose Mourinho came to the Bernabeu at the start of the season and is currently behind both Pepe and Ricardo Carvalho in the pecking order.

Arsenal are currently looking to strengthen their defensive options this month, despite Thomas Vermaelen getting closer to returning from a long-term injury.

The Gunners’ two new signings Laurent Koscielny and Sebastien Squillaci have failed to overly impress manager Arsene Wenger but Johan Djourou has done well in reserve.

However, with just four centre backs to call on, Arsenal could be caught short if they suffer an injury crisis so Albiol could be a possibility.

Other defenders linked with Arsenal are Per Mertesacker and Neven Subotic but Werder Bremen and Borussia Dortmund are unwilling to sell.

Real, though, could be tempted to part with a fringe player if the money is right, and if Albiol states his desire to leave in order to find regular first team football.

Having been a reserve whilst at the World Cup last year in South Africa, Albiol will be hoping a move will enhance his chances of becoming a regular international starter as well.

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