Arsene Wenger targets French stopper

Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Simon RuffierSt Etienne goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier is on Arsenal’s wanted list but the Gunners face strong competition for his services, according to the Express.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is keen to draft in a new keeper when the transfer window opens in the summer and reports claim they have entered the race to sign the Frenchman.

Wenger wants strong competition for Wojciech Szczesny and is said to have turned to Ruffier after being frightened off by Stoke’s £15million valuation of Asmir Begovic.

However, there is strong interest in Ruffier as Manchester United along with Serie A sides Juventus, Fiorentina and AC Milan are all keen.

“There are quite a lot of clubs attracted to him both in England and Italy. I would lie saying the contrary,” Ruffier’s agent Patrick Glanz told France Football.

“In France, only PSG and Monaco have the financial means to sign him – he deserves a big club.

“It is the kind of deal we had with coach Christophe Galtier. He has a lot of ambition and wants to play in a big club with a great project or play in the European Cup.”

The 26-year-old Frenchman has over 5 years experience in the French league, having played for Monoco until 2011 before joining Saint-Etienne.  He has a single cap for the French National team which came in 2010.

Szczesny lost his starting spot at Arsenal to fellow countryman Lukas Fabianski a month ago, but it hasn’t fixed the goalkeeper problem.  Wenger is said to have £70 million to spend in summer 2013, with a goalkeeper at the top of that list.

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