Bendtner close to Sporting switch

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Nicklas Bendtner is set for a fresh start away from Arsenal as the Denmark striker closes in on a £9million move to Sporting Lisbon.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger last week revealed the 23-year-old had been given permission to miss the friendly against Cologne and training camp in Germany "to sort out his future".

Bendtner, pushed further down the pecking order following the £11million arrival of Ivory Coast forward Gervinho, was photographed in Portugal and is expected to push through the formalities of his move over the weekend.

Two other Arsenal players who look set to miss the Emirates Cup - which will see former Gunners striker Thierry Henry return to the club with New York Red Bulls - are captain Cesc Fabregas and England winger Theo Walcott.

Fabregas, who remains the subject of a £30million transfer bid by Barcelona, has not featured at all during pre-season, training with the youth squad this week as he works on a hamstring injury, which, officially at least, has been the reason for his extended absence.

Walcott, meanwhile, was sent home early from Germany because of a niggling ankle complaint, with the results of scans expected to reveal whether or not the England forward will be in contention for the start of the new domestic season in a fortnight.

With Bendtner's departure set to follow that of long-serving defender Gael Clichy, Wenger is likely to quickly reinvest those transfer funds, which could be boosted by a further £4million should Emmanuel Eboue join Galatasaray.

Valencia's Juan Mata has long been on the Arsenal manager's radar, and his £15million signature would go some way to offsetting the impending departure of Fabregas, as well as guarding against the uncertain future of contract rebel Samir Nasri.

A centre-back is also high on Wenger's wanted list, but Arsenal will have to significantly increase their £10million offer to test Everton's resolve over England international Phil Jagielka.

Blackburn's Christopher Samba would be a cheaper option and has made it clear he would relish a move to the Gunners, with the chance of Champions League football.

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

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Emmanuel Eboue
Blackburn Rovers
Premier League
UEFA Champions League
Phil Jagielka
Christopher Samba
Gael Clichy
Nicklas Bendtner
Thierry Henry
Theo Walcott
Samir Nasri

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