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Wenger turns to Rooney as Higuain deal nears collapse

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will turn his attentions to Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney unless there  is sudden progress in negotiations for Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain.

The clubs began negotiations for the transfer early last month and the arrival of Carlos Tevez from Manchester City to Juventus was seen to have been the catalyst to finalise the deal for the Argentine’s switch to London but little movement has been made since then.

Madrid are holding out for £25million but the Gunners are reluctant to go beyond £21million for the 25 year old despite agreeing to make him one of the clubs top earners on £100,000 a week during negotiations over personal terms with the player’s representatives in recent weeks.

Wenger is keen to bring in a top level striker in this window and is willing to break the club’s transfer record but will not pay more than he thinks is fair for Higuain.

The Arsenal manager will await the outcome of a meeting between Rooney and new United boss David Moyes before making a concrete move for the striker but if Sir Alex Ferguson’s former assistant Mike Phelan is to be believed, the England international may be ready to leave Old Trafford.

“Somewhere down the line there will be words said, there will be meetings. They’ll see if it’s still alive and worth going for or they’ll call time on it,” Phelan said yesterday alerting Arsenal along with Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona to the potential availability of the forward who was frustrated by his lack of opportunity at the Premier League champions last year.

Wenger would jump at the chance to sign the striker he regards as one of the best in the world and already this week Jack Wilshire has spoken openly of his desire to play alongside his international team mate at club level.

“If it happens, it would be amazing. Just to see his name in the team brings fear to the opposition. We could do with more of that,” Wilshire said earlier this week. “He is the type of player who can win you trophies.”

Wenger is aware that supporters of the club have grown frustrated with the team’s inability to compete for trophies in recent years and is ready to invest some of the £75million available to him into the first team squad having already brought in French under-20 international Yaya Sangogo from Auxerre.

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