Arsenal Step Up Efforts To Sign Two From Samba, Jagielka And Cahill

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Arsenal are continuing their pursuit to strengthen their defence by signing two central defenders.

wearethenorthbank.com can reveal that Arsene Wenger’s top target is Phil Jagielka, a player who he has attempted to sign in the past two transfer windows.

Wenger is also continuing in his efforts to sign Chris Samba, having had an £8m bid turned down by Blackburn last month.

The other centre back on the wanted list is Bolton’s Gary Cahill, but Arsenal are reluctant to meet the £17m release clause for a player that has just one year left on his contract. It is also understood that Cahill would prefer a move to Manchester City.

Arsenal are looking to offload Sebastien Squillaci who endured a torrid debut season and Wenger wants five first team centre backs to provide strength in depth.

Having lost Johan Djourou during the entire 2009-10 campaign and Thomas Vermaelen for the majority of last season Wenger does not want a similar situation occurring again. Arsenal spent periods of last season with just two fit first team centre backs, with youth team captain Ignasi Miquel being drafted in to the squad on more than one occasion.

Having failed to land Samba for £8m, Arsenal have been in talks with Blackburn but believe the Ewood Park club’s £15m valuation of the player is unrealistic.

Blackburn upped their initial £12m asking price after realising that 15 per cent of any fee for Samba will be paid to his former club, Hertha Berlin.

The player is eager to move to Arsenal and negotiations are ongoing.

Cahill remains a target but Wenger would prefer to sign Jagielka as Wenger and Chief Scout, Steve Rowley, believe that Jagielka is the best English centre back at present.

Arsenal are weighing up a bid for the Everton centre back, but the merseyside club will be reluctant to sell a player who they see as future club captain.

Jagielka, 28, and his family are settled in the north west, but Everton may welcome the funds to bolster the squad elsewhere, particularly in attack.