Ciprian Marica

Arsenal look set to beat West Ham to the signing of Romanian striker Ciprian Marica, according to a report in the Express.

The 27-year-old is a free agent and has attracted the interest of both Premier League clubs, and also has suitors from the continent with Shakhtar Dontesk, Lazio and Inter Milan keen.

West Ham are in the market for a new striker having missed out on re-signing Carlton Cole over the summer after he failed to prove his fitness.

And manager Sam Allardyce could be set for further disappointment with the news that Arsenal are favourites to land Marica.

That’s according to the striker’s agent, Ioan Becali, who told Romanian publication

“Marica is a really great striker who has already got experience in western European football and so it’s natural that big clubs are eyeing his career.

“He’s close to joining Arsenal, but we have to wait for the next week.”

Though the transfer window slammed shut at 23:00 BST last Monday night, clubs can complete deals for free agents at any point in the season.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger came under heavy criticism in the summer for his lack of new signings and though he eventually landed Mesut Ozil, Arsenal have a striking crisis with Lukas Podolski out until Christmas.

Marica was released from his contract at Schalke and though he failed to impress during his time in the Bundesliga, he has netted 22 times in 63 international appearances for Romania.

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