Arsenal target set to ‘sign pre-contract agreement’

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Mark Schwarzer is allegedly planning to sign a pre-contract with Arsenal in order to secure a move to the Emirates on a free transfer next summer.

The Fulham goalkeeper was identified as Arsenal’s number one target during the transfer window but a deal could not be struck between the two London clubs.

Arsene Wenger is understood to have lost faith in current custodian Manuel Almunia and was keen to replace him with Schwarzer before deadline day.

The 37-year-old reportedly told Fulham boss Mark Hughes that he wanted to leave Craven Cottage in order to play Champions League football but was refused permission to speak to his suitors.

However, the Daily Mirror now reports that the Australian will attempt to sign a pre-contract with a club involved in European competition and then depart the west Londoners when his current deal expires next year.

When questioned this week about his future, the former Middlesbrough stopper was reluctant to pass comment for fear of saying something untoward.

"I would rather not say anything," he said. "I would really rather not say anything because otherwise I might say something wrong."

It seems inevitable that the experienced international will come under media scrutiny again once the transfer window reopens, and Arsenal have already been linked with a renewed January bid for his services.

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