Arsene Wenger: Arsenal not reliant on signing striker

Emirates more likely to see defensive arrivals

Arsene Wenger: expects to be occupied until ‘final minute’ of deadline day. Photograph:  Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

Arsene Wenger: expects to be occupied until ‘final minute’ of deadline day. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

Fri, Aug 29, 2014, 23:05

Arsene Wenger has said Arsenal’s hopes this season do not rest on signing a striker before the closure of the transfer window on Monday night, even though he has lost his main forward, Olivier Giroud, to a fractured tibia until the new year.

The pressure on Wenger to add more firepower to his squad increased after the extent of Giroud’s injury was confirmed and it would be seen as an unnecessary risk for Arsenal not to recruit a forward. Given that Yaya Sanogo and Joel Campbell are yet to prove themselves at the highest level and Wenger does not believe that Lukas Podolski is suited to being the focal point of his attack, there does not appear to be much of an argument against Arsenal signing another striker.

Deadline day Wenger did not rule it out and he dropped occasional hints that he is not finished in the transfer market. Arsenal have been linked with a loan move for Monaco’s Radamel Falcao, who would cost about £20 million in fees and wages, and a £16 million move for Manchester United’s Danny Welbeck, while Wenger said he expects to be conducting business on deadline day “until the final minute”.

However, it is more likely that he will look to bring in a defender or a defensive midfielder and it was typical of Wenger that he should throw his support behind Sanogo and Campbell when it was put to him that a world-class signing could make the difference for Arsenal.

“He can, yes, but I can give you as well many counter examples, players who have been bought mid-season for a huge amount of money and did not make a difference,” Wenger said. “The most important is the balance of the team because the balance of the team can depend on one player. And, of course, if you can find that player, it can help.

“Today we are in a position sometimes, if you always buy, you can never give a chance to a player. We take now the example of Calum Chambers. Calum Chambers played centre-back because I gave him the chance to play centre- back. If I had four centre- backs already because I had bought four, I would never have played him . . . That balance has to be right inside the club between buying what is right to make the squad stronger but as well keep the chance to give opportunities to people who deserve it.”

‘Too many strikers’ Wenger was giving little away on transfers but he admitted that he would have to sell someone if he makes a new signing: “If we buy somebody, somebody will go because we have too many players. We have too many strikers.”

It remains to be seen if Wenger would be ready to gamble on Falcao. The Colombian’s pedigree is not in doubt but he is 28 and recovering from the knee injury that kept him out of the World Cup. He would also not be cheap. Wenger would have reservations about spending so much on a player for a season-long loan.

There is intrigue about Welbeck, too, but it could be difficult for Arsenal to persuade United to sell the 23-year-old to a rival. Guardian Service

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