Koscielny close to Gunners deal

It is understood a move will be officially confirmed by the Gunners

within the next 24 hours, possibly even later on Wednesday. Arsene

Wenger has tracked the 24-year-old for some time, as Koscielny, who

is also eligible to play for Poland, impressed in the French

domestic league. The Gunners boss is in need of cover at the back,

with Sol Campbell mulling over a new one-year deal and fellow

veterans William Gallas and Mikael Silvestre set to leave after the

end of their contracts. Koscielny is expected to team up with the

Arsenal players who have returned to the club’s Hertfordshire

training complex this week ahead of the traditional pre-season

friendly at Barnet on July 17, although those who have been in

international action will get extra time off, with captain Cesc

Fabregas – a target for Barcelona – looking to join Dutch striker

Robin van Persie in the World Cup final. Wenger has already secured

the capture of long-term target Marouane Chamakh, the Morocco

striker, to bolster the Arsenal attack, which could be missing

Nicklas Bendtner ahead of their opening game of the new Premier

League season at Liverpool on August 15. Fulham’s Australia

international Mark Schwarzer has been linked with a switch to

Emirates Stadium should Wenger decide he needs a more reliable pair

of hands in goal next season. The Gunners boss has been in South

Africa working as a pundit for French TV, but will waste no time on

his return, with the squad set to head out to their Austrian

training base before the Emirates Cup at the end of the month. By

then, Wenger will want Fabregas’ future decided one way or another,

as Barcelona appear to be growing impatient in the pursuit of their

former trainee, but one which new president Sandro Rosell maintains

will not come at any cost.