Arsenal risk losing out on Ciprian Marica

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Arsenal risk losing out on striker Ciprian Marica, with Premier League rivals West Ham United having joined the race for the player's signature.

According to the Daily Star, Sam Allardyce is desperate to land the 27-year-old striker having missed out on Romelu Lukaku, Demba Ba and Nicklas Bendtner on transfer deadline day, while the Hammers' attempts to re-sign Carlton Cole have stalled after doubts over the player's fitness.

With a significant lack of firepower in his ranks, Allardyce has stepped up his interest in free agent Marica, though he faces an uphill task in convincing the frontman that a move to Upton Park is in his best interests, with Arsenal keeping a close eye on events.

Marica's agent has confirmed that the Romanian striker - who is available for nothing after leaving Schalke at the end of his contract in the summer - is closing in on a move to the Premier League.

"Marica is a really great striker who has already got experience in western European football and so it's natural that big clubs are eyeing his career," Ioan Becali told

Becali went on to confirm that Arsenal are front-runners for Marica's signature, though the player's future is likely to be decided in the coming days.

Becali added: "He's close to joining Arsenal, but we have to wait for the next week."

Like West Ham, Arsenal were also on the lookout for attacking reinforcements ahead of the transfer window closing on September 2.

Chelsea striker Demba Ba seeemed all set for an Emirates switch, only for Jose Mourinho to pull the plug on the move at the last minute, with the self-proclaimed 'Special One' claiming that, following the £42.4 million capture of Mesut Ozil, Arsene Wenger's side would be genuine title contenders if the Blues let Ba move to north London.

Having missed out on the Senegalese striker, Wenger has now turned his attention towards Marica, with the Romanian striker - who has also been linked with Lazio and Inter Milan - able to move outside of the transfer window as he is out of contract and without a club.

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