Stamford Bridge loanee set for long-term stay at the Emirates.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is set to turn Yossi Benayoun’s loan move into a permanent deal after being impressed by the midfielder.
The 31-year-old joined from Chelsea on a frantic deadline day that also saw Mikel Arteta join from Everton.
The Israel international’s arrival was an unusual manoeuvre from the Gunners boss who rarely brings players in on a temporary basis, the last being Julio Baptista from Real Madrid in 2006.
But Wenger indicated should things work out for the former West Ham and Liverpool playmaker, then a permanent transfer could well be on the cards.
“It’s too early to say at the moment (whether we will sign him), but I don’t rule it out,” Wenger said.
“I want him to contribute as much as he can to the rest of the squad like every other player – not more, not less.
“Benayoun gives his best every time he plays and we think he can integrate well.
“He can play on both flanks. He can play in the middle, although I think he prefers to play on the wing.
“Overall he has shown on Tuesday night (against Borussia Dortmund) that he is completely physically fit again.”
The Gunners have endured one of the most testing starts to a campaign under Wenger’s tenure, which resulted in them being thrashed 8-2 by Manchester United.
The summer also saw the departures of captain Cesc Fabregas and playmaker Samir Nasri, leaving Arsenal looking vulnerable.
Recently a nervy first Premier League victory over Swansea was followed with a hard-earned 1-1 away draw at Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.
Assistant manager Pat Rice feels the squad had now turned the corner but Wenger insists the time for positive rhetoric is over.
“We must win,” he added. “We live in an environment that questions us when we don’t win. We do not criticise that and have to live with that.
“We have to show performances, consistency and attitude quality, that makes us respected. It is as simple as that.
“That is why it is as important that we do not talk too much and play as well as we can.
“We feel we have turned the corner, but we will be judged by the consistency of our results.”