While Alex Ferguson was thrashing out a œ35 million deal for Rio Ferdinand, his counterpart at Highbury, Arsene Wenger could have afforded himself a wry smile before the season has even begun, after watching the debut performance new £2.1million signing, Pascal Cygan.

Last night, Wenger watched Cygan give a commanding, assured and highly impressive display in his side’s 6-1 thrashing of Stevenage. At œ2.1 million, Cyan looks a bargain.

“He (Cygan) did well,” said Wenger. “He showed he had a good understanding of the game.”

It is this quality that Wenger hopes will eventually see the 28-year-old Frenchman fill the huge void left by Tony Adam’s likely retirement.

One player who has decided against hanging up his boots, for at least one more year, is Arsenal and England No.1 David Seaman.

“I never imagined David leaving Arsenal at this stage of his career and I’m sure he will come back stronger and more determined,” said a delighted Wenger.

The news will not, however, affect Wenger’s wish to sign Turkey goalkeeper Recber Rustu.

Arsenal fans were given a further boost when Thierry Henry expressed his desire to remain at the club.

“I am so happy at Arsenal,” he said, “I have found my club and I definitely want to play at the new stadium.”

The new œ150 million stadium at Ashburton Grove is due to be completed in 2006.