French starlet confirms Arsenal interest

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Benjamin Mendy has confirmed that Arsenal are one of the clubs interested in adding his services.

The 17-year-old defender was ironically linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium last summer, but Le Havre kept the French youth international on their books with a three-year deal at the Stade Jules Deschaseaux.

However, Arsene Wenger is once again taking a close look at the player, although the youngster is eager to step-up and learn his trade in Ligue 1 first before moving to England and the Barclays Premier League.

"There was interest from a lot of clubs. I know Arsenal were one," Mendy told L'Equipe.

"But I have a sensible head on my shoulders. I am still living at the education centre here with my friends who play for the reserves. I have not changed.

"After Le Havre, I would like to spend two seasons in Ligue 1 and then go to England. I would then like to go to Barcelona, where my idol Dani Alves plays."

Currently plying their trade in Ligue 2, Le Havre appear unlikely to be able to keep hold onto the Les Bleus U18 international long-term, but Mendy's comments all-but end chances of Arsenal bringing the player to north London in the immediate future.

The Gunners have been experiencing an injury-crisis in the full-back position of late, with Wenger admitting that loan or transfer moves were an option this month as Andre Santos, Kieran Gibbs, Bacary Sagna and Carl Jenkinson spend time on the treatment table.

But, with Sagna and Gibbs closing on first team returns, the need for a player in the full-back position is no longer so great, and Mendy appears to be a long-term target for Arsenal.

Premier League

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