Wenger pleased with Flamini decision

Arsene Wenger has revealed that he was initially reluctant to re-sign Mathieu Flamini, but is glad that he did as he has “crucial to the balance of the side”.

The France international is almost certain for face his former team Marsielle in tomorrow evening’s Champions League group opener at the Stade Velodrome, amid a midfield injury crisis for the Arsenal manager.

Elsewhere, the club are set to join Liverpool in the race to sign Schalke defender Kyriakos Papadopolus in January, according to the Express.

The 21 year old was heavily linked with a move to Anfield during the summer; with some reports suggesting a deal had already been agreed, subject to a medical as the Greece international recovered from a knee injury.

However, with the Reds having brought in three alternative options in central defence, the path could be clear for the Gunners to swoop.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid defender Juanfran has revealed that he turned down the chance to move to the Emirates in the summer, ESPN understands.

The Spain international was reportedly offered a huge wage increase to make the switch to North London, but decided to remain in the Spanish capital – and last week put pen to paper on a new deal with the club.

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