Almunia exit in pipeline

Manager admits custodian could leave

Almunia: Could leave this month

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Manuel Almunia could leave Arsenal during the January transfer window, according to Arsene Wenger.

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Almunia has not played since the 3-2 home defeat to West Bromwich Albion in September through injury, but looks unlikely to get a game ahead of Lukasz Fabianski or Wojciech Szczesny.

And the 33-year-old goalkeeper looks set to head out of the Gunners' exit door after falling out at favour at the Emirates Stadium, alerting the likes of Galatasaray, Malaga and Atletico Madrid who are interested in the Spanish shot-stopper.

Wenger maintains no firm decision has been made on Almunia's future, but when pressed if there was a possibility he could leave, the Arsenal manager said: "There is a small chance. Yes, I have had a chat with him, but nothing is decided.

"We are in no-man's land at the moment on that front."


Wenger, meanwhile, indicated a decision would be made next week on the loan destination for Carlos Vela.

The 21-year-old Mexican forward has seen his first-team chances limited this season, with the likes of Marouane Chamakh, Nicklas Bendtner, Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott all ahead of him in the Gunners' pecking order.

Bolton are keen to take the pacy Vela to Reebok Stadium, where midfielder Jack Wilshere enjoyed a productive spell last season which helped him break through into an Arsenal first-team regular now.

Wenger confirmed a number of clubs at home and in Europe had offered Vela the chance of some match action.

"We have a choice and that is basically the problem because he has the choice as well and we need him to feel comfortable to go where he would like to go," said the Arsenal manager.

"At the moment we have requests from France, Spain, England and we have to sort that out.

"Because players of his quality on loan on a market that is very restricted money-wise, you have an abundance of clubs who want him. There are about three or four in the Premier League."

Wenger added: "I would prefer him to stay in England, because it is easier for us to go and watch him, to come to conclusions as it is much easier to compare in the Premier League than if he goes to another country."