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Arsenal to raise wages to lure stars

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By Sami Mokbel

London – Arsenal are planning to raise their wage ceiling in the summer to facilitate Arsene Wenger’s £70million spending splurge.

Wenger wants “three to four” top-level signings in the summer, with a striker his priority.

Fiorentina striker Stevan Jovetic is a target and Wenger also wants a proven goalkeeper and holding midfielder.

At the moment, Arsenal’s top earners are Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski, who earn a basic wage of around £90,000 per week.

But Daily Mail has learned that they are willing to stretch to as much as £150,000 per week for the right player this summer.

Arsenal’s annual wage bill is £143m, the fourth highest in the Barclays Premier League behind Manchester City (£201m), Chelsea (£171m) and Manchester United (£160m).

The Gunners showed a similar intention last summer in their unsuccessful attempts to retain Robin van Persie, giving the all-clear to a £140,000-per-week package.

Arsenal executives hope to ease the way for the summer changes by offloading a number of their unwanted players.

The club will save £7.5m per year on wages when Andrey Arshavin and Sebastien Squillaci’s contracts expire at the end of the season. They are also making moves to shift Bacary Sagna, Nicklas Bendtner, Andre Santos, Johan Djourou, Ju-young Park, Marouane Chamakh, Emmanuel Frimpong and Denilson. The club would save £24m a year on wages if they all go.

Meanwhile, Dennis Bergkamp has spoken of his delight after Arsenal confirmed a statue of the former Holland international will be erected outside the Emirates Stadium.

He said: “I am honoured that this is going to happen. I had a fantastic time at the club.” – Daily Mail

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