Arsenal face Madrid fight for ready-made Vermaelen replacement

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Highly rated French defender Florian Lejeune is a target for Real Madrid according to the player’s agent.

The 20-year-old centre half, who currently plies his trade with FC Istres in Ligue 2 – the second tier of French football, has been tipped as a leading star of the future.

Having attracted additional attention from Manchester City and Tottenham, it is Arsenal who appeared to show the most interest, with Arsene Wenger confirming he would be in the market for defensive cover, to fill the gap left by the long-term injury to Thomas Vermaelen.

However, Lejeune’s agent Claude Cauvy has added to the speculation saying, “In England, there is nothing to speak of at the moment. There was interest and the player was offered to a number of clubs but we have had no offers from any club.


“We are now speaking with Real Madrid, Deportivo and Olympique Marseille so we will see what happens.”

Lejeune is set to represent France at the under-20 World Cup this summer, where he will be hoping to raise his profile further, but with good performances comes an added cost – so a more humble deal will need to be thrashed out sooner rather than later.

The Gunners have been linked with a number of central defenders in recent weeks, including Bolton’s Gary Cahill and West Ham’s Matthew Upson, while Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has today ruled out Jonathan Woodgate moving on loan to their North-London rivals.

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