Wenger ready to open chequebook as he prepares to battle Chelsea

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Arsene Wenger is prepared to go higher than £12m in his attempts to land Everton’s Phil Jagielka.

The Toffees can expect a bid from Arsenal somewhere near their asking price of £17m for the England international early next week, and David Moyes’ resolve is certainly going to be tested.

With the Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri sagas ongoing, Wenger is under pressure to bring some cheer to the Emirates ahead of the new season and we could see the Frenchman become very active in the coming week.

Wenger’s new recruit Gervinho scored twice in the first 15 minutes of his Arsenal debut in Germany yesterday as Arsenal beat Cologne 2-1 and Wenger is keen to bolster his squad as they prepare for a title challenge.

Jagielka would be a real asset at the centre of an Arsenal defence that conceded an average of 1.13 goals per game last season – all three of the teams that finished above them conceded less than a goal a game.

But it is the news Wenger is preparing to hijack Chelsea’s move for Anderlecht’s Romelu Lukaku that will really excite the Arsenal faithful.

The 18-year-old has been compared to Didier Drogba because of his bulk and ability to find the net – he has 31 goals in 71 appearances for Anderlecht – and the Belgian is valued at around £17.5m.

It was thought Chelsea were going to have it all their own way with Lukaku who has been linked with a move to the Premier League for sometime, but Wenger is prepared to open the chequebook for the teenager who has shown plenty of promise.

A forward three of Robin van Persie, Gervinho and Lukaku would certainly add weight to Arsenal’s title challenge and should the moves for Lukaku and Jagielka come off, the 9/1 for Arsenal to win the title will start looking like real value.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.