Arsenal star holds key to international defender signing

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Arsenal are being linked with a January move for Russian international defender Renat Yanbaev.

The 26-year-old Lokomotiv Moscow full back fears that a lack of international caps could scupper his work permit plans, but Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is still thought to be interested in trying to bring the player to the Emirates.

"My agent told me there was interest from Arsenal, but that I didn’t have enough games for the national team,” Yanbaev told the Daily Mail.

"I’m willing to lose money for a move abroad. I want to play for a European club, but so far it hasn’t worked out."

Yanbaev, who can also play in an attacking role in midfield, has won nine caps for his country after making his debut in 2008. At club level, the player began his career with CSKA Moscow, but after failing to make a senior appearance moved to Khimki and Kuban Krasnodar.

A regular at Lokomotiv after signing in 2007, the player now appears to be keen to make the step-up in one of Europe's top leagues, with Arsenal in pole position to bring Yanbaev to the Premier League.

Gunners playmaker Andrey Arshavin could play a role in sealing a move for his compatriot, swaying the player towards the north London club should any other team follow-up their interest in the player.

Wenger is thought to have money to spend in January after bumper profits were recently announced at the Emirates, and Yanbaev appears to be a legitimate Arsenal target in the opening month of 2011.

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