Blackburn the priority for now

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has assured fans that they aren’t underestimating the relevance of tomorrow afternoon’s clash with Blackburn Rovers in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

The game comes four days before their Champions League tie with Bayern Munich, though Mertesacker says all thoughts are on Saturday’s tie for the time being.

However, Arsene Wenger’s side, who ran out 7-1 winners the last time they met Rovers, is likely be to be rotated with doubts hanging over the fitness of Jack Wilshere, Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny.

Kieran Gibbs is definitely out through injury, while Carl Jenkinson is suspended though Gervinho may feature having not played since New Year’s Day’s draw with Southampton due to his participation in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Meanwhile, it is reported that it will cost the club £17 million if they are to secure the services of Barcelona forward David Villa.

The Spanish striker, who is currently being treated for kidney stones, has constantly been linked with a move to the Emirates after making only eight league starts this season.

Elsewhere, Arsenal are set to battle North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur for the signature of Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Sebastian Rode.

The 22 year old has played every game in the Bundesliga this season, scoring two goals.

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