Gunners target to 'force move' in January window

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Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has hinted for the first time that he is ready to 'force' a move to Arsenal in January after being denied the chance to sign for them in the summer.

Fulham stopper Schwarzer had a written transfer request snubbed by the Cottagers during a close season in which the Gunners bid £2 million to acquire his services.

But the 37-year-old, whose contract expires next summer, looks set to make a fresh claim to move on when the winter transfer window reopens.

"A lot can happen between now and January. What will be will be," Schwarzer was quoted as saying. "If there's an opportunity in January then we'll explore it."

Schwarzer, who arrived in his native Australia this week for their upcoming friendly against Paraguay, added: "This is the only time in my career I have ever tried to force an issue.

"I don't have time on my side. If you were a 30-year-old, you would walk away and say, 'Fair enough, I understand'.

"But I'm almost 38 and I want to fulfil an ambition. The sheer opportunity that was there - that was very flattering.

"But sometimes you've just got to grin and bear it and just get on with normal life again as much as possible.

"You just have to get your head down and work as hard as possible.

"It can affect your day-to-day life, and ultimately I am judged on how I perform week in, week out. If that performance drops, then no club is going to be interested in me. The bottom line is I've got to play well, wherever I am."

This is set to go down well with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, who has been worried about his lack of a quality number one all season. He was disappointed not to sign Schwarzer over the summer, but it looks like January could be the time he lands his man.

Manuel Almunia is out of favour at the Emirates and has been tipped for an exit, and it could be a case of one in and one out at Arsenal in the January window. Almunia has been Wenger's number one over the past couple of seasons, but his lack of consistency has frustrated the Arsenal manager and fans alike.

A recent injury to Almunia has let in Lukasz Fabianski and the young Polish stopper has impressed at times, but has still not done enough to convince Wenger not to bring in an experienced head.

It looks like it will just be a short term fix for Wenger, he will bring in Schwarzer for a couple of seasons for a bit of stability between the sticks, which will allow Fabianski to develop and he will no doubt get chances in domestic cup competitions.

Fulham will not want to sell Schwarzer, but with his contract running down, this could be their only chance to raise some money for him.

They themselves have been linked with a move for Crystal Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni, and with the Argentine admitting he wants a move to the Premier League. The Eagles fan favourite will be available for around £2-3 million - the amount they would get from Arsenal for Schwarzer.


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Mark Schwarzer
Premier League

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