ARSENE WENGER has expressed his admiration for Loic Remy, paving the way for a concerted effort to sign the Newcastle United loan striker in the summer.
Remy's loan deal at St James' Park expires at the end of the season, and while Alan Pardew has already confirmed he will attempt to hold on to the France international permanently, the Magpies boss faces intense competition from a number of European sides.
Juventus are the latest club to be linked with Remy, who is currently contracted to QPR, and while Newcastle officials will hope the experiences of the last nine months will count for something when they sit down to talk to the 27-year-old and his representatives, the Serie A side are one of a number of interested parties who can offer Champions League football next season.
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Arsenal are not guaranteed to be in that position yet, but the Gunners will finish in the top four if they win their remaining three Premier League games, a scenario that would enhance their hand as they look to rebuild this summer.
Wenger has pondered a move for Remy on a number of occasions in the past, and is finally expected to make a concerted push for his compatriot's services this summer.
“He (Remy) is a good striker,” said the Arsenal boss. “But at the moment we are focused on the end of the season, not on transfers.”
That will change in a few weeks time, and Wenger's willingness to discuss Remy, albeit briefly, represents another significant blow to Newcastle's hopes of holding on to their leading scorer.
Having appeared as a substitute in last weekend's 2-1 defeat to Swansea, Remy is expected to make his first start for almost two months when the Magpies travel to the Emirates on Monday.
Pardew's side have lost their last five matches in a row, but with their manager finally free to return to the touchline after a seven-game ban, there is a shared determination to finish the season with more of a fight than has been apparent in recent outings.
“We can cause the big clubs some difficulties and maybe make things tougher for the teams who are fighting as well,” said Remy. “For me, that means the end of the season will be exciting.
“People have said we are finished for the season but I don't see that. The players are training well and working well. It maybe hasn't been as good a season as we wanted it to be. But we will keep giving everything until the final whistle of the final game.”
Moussa Sissoko should also be available for Monday's game after shaking off the hamstring injury that has kept him out of the last three matches.