Fulham centre-back Brede Hangeland is back on Arsene Wenger’s radar. The Gunners boss has confirmed that he will sign a defender during the transfer window after Thomas Vermaelen suffered a setback in recovering from his achilles problem and Sebastien Squillaci injured his hamstring.
Vermaelen will be missing for another month and Squillaci picked up a hamstring complaint in the weekend’s draw with Leeds and is likely to be out for at least a fortnight.
“He [Vermaelen] had another setback on Saturday that we are concerned with,” admitted Wenger this week. “We are consulting top specialists around the world. We’ll know more later [this week].
“Unfortunately I can’t give you any precise date but I concede that, with this little setback from Thomas, we are in a situation where we will have to look around.
“Squillaci will be out for a maximum of three weeks, minimum two. It is a hamstring injury but it is not too bad – a grade one. He’ll be back in two weeks if all goes well.”
As a result, the Gunners boss is on the lookout for an experienced defender, and will again try to tempt Norway captain Hangeland away from Craven Cottage.
The Arsenal manager first made enquiries about the 29-year-old in 2009, before he went on to sign Vermaelen from Ajax.
The 6ft 5ins centre-back was a lynchpin of the side that reached last season’s Europa League final under former boss Roy Hodgson, who Hangeland knew from his time in Norway.
But Hodgson’s successor Mark Hughes has not had similar success at the club, and Hangeland, who is under contract until 2013, could be tempted away for around £8m.
However, Hughes has already played hardball with Arsenal over keeper Mark Schwarzer in the summer, and is desperate to keep his defensive rock for the Cottagers’ battle against relegation.