Arsenal close to signing striker

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Arsenal are close to adding to their striking ranks with the free signing of Romania international Ciprian Marica and could have a deal completed by next week.

That is according to the 27-year-old's agent, Ioan Becali, who has claimed the Gunners lead the race to snap up the forward for nothing, a race reportedly also involving Shakhtar Donetsk, Lazio and Inter Milan.

"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," Becali is quoted as saying in The Mirror.

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

Arsene Wenger has a shortage of senior strikers at Emirates Stadium after failing to recruit a new one before the transfer window shut last week after Lukas Podolski suffered a serious hamstring injury, possibly ruling him out until Christmas.

Olivier Giroud is the only senior central striker left at the Arsenal manager's disposal, while youngster Yaya Sanogo, also free transfer this summer, is not expected to produce for the first team for some time - he is also struggling with a back injury ahead of the weekend trip to Sunderland.

Marica would likely be seen as an experienced short term solution for the Gunners and would not cost them a transfer fee after his contract with Bundesliga club Schalke 04 expired this summer.

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