By SAMI MOKBEL and MATT BARLOW
Arsenal have made an audacious attempt to sign Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien on loan.
Arsene Wenger wants to add a defensive midfielder to his ranks before Friday’s transfer deadline and strides have been taken to recruit the Ghana international on a season-long loan.
Essien is down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge and it is understood Roberto Di Matteo would consider letting him leave on loan.
Whether the Blues would be willing to send a player to one of their direct rivals remains to be seen, though Chelsea did allow Yossi Benayoun move to the Emirates Stadium last season.
Meanwhile, Wenger will trust the power of love to keep Theo Walcott at Arsenal but the parties are no closer to reaching an agreement.
An uneasy truce has been struck to allow today’s transfer deadline to pass with a view to holding further talks later this year.
But Walcott’s faith in Wenger and the club has been shaken over the past few days, when he was dropped at Stoke and hit with a thinly-veiled ultimatum to sign or be sold.
He does not want to leave, but told Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis he will not sign a five-year contract worth £75,000 a week. Walcott’s current deal expires in June.
‘I don’t know what will happen in January,’ said Wenger. ‘What happens at the end of the season happens. Theo loves the club. He is not obsessed by money. He does not say, “It’s that or not”.’
Meanwhile, Nicklas Bendtner is discussing a loan move to Juventus and Park Ju-young is close to joining Celta Vigo.