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Senegalese forward 'interested' in Gunners switch

EXCLUSIVE
By Tom Bellwood

Arsenal
have emerged as leading contenders to sign £10 million-rated SC Freiburg striker Papiss Demba Cisse.

Cisse, who wants a move to a Champions League-calibre English club next summer, is joint top goalscorer in the Bundesliga this season with 13 goals.

But the Senegal international, 25, has set his sights on a move abroad.

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A source close to Cisse has rubbished reports that a switch to Fulham is imminent and said that the player wants to move to a more established London club where his ambitions can be fulfilled.

With Arsenal understood to have already expressed an interest in the player, a summer move could be in the offing.
 
"There’s no mistaking he’s very happy at Freiburg and he’s under contract until 2014, but Arsenal certainly interests him," the source told Goal.com UK.

"But Fulham is not an option. All respect to the club, regardless of whether they can afford him, he wouldn’t want to go.

"Freiburg are a great but small club so it's very likely he will go in the summer. And Cisse is worthy of Champions League football, that is what he's aiming for."


Eye for goal | Cisse has found the back of the net 13 times for Freiburg this season

Cisse has been instrumental in Freiburg’s excellent start to the season and, aside from the goals, his powerful displays have led to comparisons with Chelsea’s Didier Drogba.

He moved to Germany a year ago following a four-year stint in France with Ligue 1 side Metz and loan spells with Cherbourg and Chateauroux and has scored five goals in four games since making his international debut last year.

However, his club are unwilling to let their talisman depart without a fight. Manager Robin Dutt recently spelled out just how important Cisse is to the team.

Dutt said: "He is as important to us as Sami Khedira was for Stuttgart or Arjen Robben is for Bayern."

But even the club’s general manager, Dirk Dufner, has conceded that holding onto Cisse is now becoming an impossible task.

He said: "[Cisse] has a contract with our club until June 2014 and he is a key player within our first team.

"However, I feel that it will be a challenge to keep Papiss here."

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