Gunners boss hails his new fighter

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Arsene Wenger feels in Laurent Koscielny Arsenal have signed a "fighter" ready to help them battle for the Barclays Premier League title.

Koscielny has been on Wenger's radar for some time, as he impressed in the French domestic league, and is understood to have cost the Emirates Stadium club in the region of £10million. The 24-year-old, who is also eligible to play for Poland, is set to partner Thomas Vermaelen at the heart of the Arsenal defence, taking the number six shirt once worn by former captain Tony Adams.

"We identified him as a very strong centre-half, who has made big progress very quickly," said the Gunners boss.

"He has shown he is mentally strong, he's a fighter and a very strong competitor. Koscielny is a great addition to our squad."

The former Tours player is, meanwhile, relishing the challenge of such a step up in class.

"I will have to adapt and give everything in training to get to the level for the Premier League," Koscielny said. "It's the start of a new adventure. I will give my maximum to play in the team."

Wenger has already secured the capture of long-term target Marouane Chamakh, the Morocco striker, to bolster the Arsenal attack, which could be missing Nicklas Bendtner ahead of their opening game of the new Barclays Premier League season at Liverpool on August 15.

Fulham's Australia international Mark Schwarzer has been linked with a switch to the Emirates Stadium should Wenger decide he needs a more reliable pair of hands in goal next season.

The Gunners boss will waste no time on his return to England after the World Cup final, with the squad set to head out to their Austrian training base before the Emirates Cup at the end of the month. By then, Wenger will want playmaker Cesc Fabregas' future decided one way or another, as Barcelona appear to be growing impatient in the pursuit of their former trainee - one which new president Sandro Rosell maintains will not come at any cost.

"We would not pay the 50-60million euros that I have read about," he said. "If Arsenal do not go crazy, he might play at Barca."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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