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ARSENAL are rumoured to be targeting Birmingham City centre back Darren Purse, after receiving favourable reports on the Londoner.

Reports claim that Arsene Wenger is ready to fork out a massive £4.5 million in a bid to tempt the Worthington Cup finalists into selling their 24-year-old defender.

Purse showed nerves of steel when converting the last minute penalty against Liverpool in the final in Cardiff, despite a lengthy stoppage ahead of the spot kick being taken, and he has impressed with his determination and leadership qualities.

Wenger could see the former Leyton Orient and Oxford man as a natural successor to Tony Adams, but he has been rather reluctant to buy English players in the past, with only Matthew Upson and Jermaine Pennant winging their way to Highbury.

Birmingham boss Trevor Francis will fight to hang onto one of his prize assets but much will depend upon whether Blues can obtain promotion to The Premiership, after suffering a string of bad results recently.