Gunners seal Celta partnership
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Arsenal have agreed a three-year collaborative deal with La Liga outfit Celta Vigo.Arsenal have extended their reach into continental football by signing a three-year collaborative deal with La Liga outfit Celta Vigo.
The Gunners already have a similar deal in place with Belgian side Beveren, and the new agreement seeks to assist in the development of young players for both clubs.
Arsene Wenger has increasingly turned to Spain in his hunt for Europe's brightest talents, and The Premiership side were reported to be close to formalising links with Malaga.
However they have now entered into partnership with Celta, in a move that could facilitate the arrival of non-EU stars to North London.
Arsenal have a deal in place to sign Mexican wonderkid Carlos Vela, although the forward will first spend time in Spain to gain European nationality and the agreement with Celta could provide a further outlet for such transfers.
The Spanish side have confirmed the deal, and, if in keeping with the Beveren model, could benefit from loaning some of Arsenal's bright prospects themsleves.
"Celta and Arsenal believe that this deal will benefit both clubs and we would like to express our satisfaction with the agreement," Celta said in a statement on their website.
Meanwhile, Wenger has stated that he expects to welcome Belarus Player of the Year Alexander Hleb back to first team action in time for the UEFA Champions League visit of Ajax on December 7.
The summer signing from Stuttgart had his impressive start to the season derailed by a knee injury and has been out of the reckoning for nearly two months, although Wenger has now pencilled in a return to face the Dutch side.
"He is not completely available but he is back training with the squad. I think he will play against Ajax. If we were in a real crisis, he could travel with us to Bolton this weekend," Wenger told the club's official website.
Fellow midfielder Alexandre Song is also working his way back to fitness after sustaining a knee injury in the defeat of FC Thun on November 22, although Wenger revealed he too will be short for the trip to The Reebok Stadium.
"Alex Song is getting better. He has a good chance of being available for Ajax but I don't think I will take a chance with him on Saturday at Bolton."