London: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is close to re-signing skipper Patrick Vieira and has targeted Valencia goalkeeper Santiago Canizares as a possible replacement for David Seaman.
A towering presence in midfield, the 27-year-old Vieira is rated at up to $39.65 million and has just one season left on his contract before he becomes a free agent. “I believe Patrick is very close to signing,” Wenger said in Monday’s Daily Mail. “I am very optimistic.”
The quest continues for a replacement for Seaman, who has joined Premier League rivals Manchester City. “At the moment I am not progressed enough to give you a name but Canizares is one of them,” Wenger told the club’s website.
Italian goalkeeper Matteo Guardalben has returned home after a trial and a pre-season friendly at Peterborough last week, while Frenchman Guillaume Warmuz, signed as cover in January, has also left the club.
“That is one job,” Wenger said of the search for a ’keeper. “The other is to extend the contract of the players we want to extend. Then the job will be done.”
Stuart Taylor is currently Arsenal’s first-choice goalkeeper, followed by Rami Shaaban, who missed most of last season through injury, and Graham Stack.
“I have confidence in Stuart Taylor but we’re not sure he can go through a whole season as first choice, so we need to bring in someone experienced,” Wenger said.
Wenger added that winger Robert Pires was about to sign a new deal. “Rumours that we have had offers for Robert are not true,” said the Frenchman. “He is about to agree an extension to his contract.”
Seaman, meanwhile, said he could stay on at his new club Manchester City beyond his current one-year deal. “The move has not been difficult as it is my job,” the 39-year-old said. “As a player if you are not wanted at a club then you move on.
“I felt that I still have at least one year left in my playing career at a high standard. Wenger did not agree with that and so it was an easy choice for me.”