Arsène Wenger calls on fans to back Arsenal’s current strike force

Manager denies he misled supporters about the extent of Danny Welbeck’s injury

Arsène Wenger has again defended his inactivity in the transfer window, while denying he deliberately misled Arsenal fans about the extent of Danny Welbeck's injury before the deadline passed.

Wenger, who made no outfield signings during the summer, instead urged supporters to get behind the attackers at his disposal, even though the main choices of Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and Alexis Sánchez have so far found goals hard to come by.

“To support the club and support the team is to stand behind the players,” Wenger said. “It is not always expecting someone coming down from heaven to sort out all your problems.”

Wenger has been talking to his forwards individually about their form, and also revealed that Thierry Henry, who is regularly at London Colney while he works on his coaching badges and spends time with the under-18s, has also been a sounding board for the senior strikers.

“Of course he talks to them,” Wenger said. “But let’s not be naive as well. These players have experience, they are 25, 26 years old and they know the job, they know what to do, they are ambitious, they have the quality.”

Opportunity

The fact Arsenal did not end up signing another striker is, he said, a “massive opportunity” for Giroud and Walcott in particular over the months ahead.

One person he cannot rely on for the moment is the injured Welbeck, and Wenger said the England man would be out “certainly until Christmas”.

Wenger was not impressed with the inference that he was misleading about the situation before the window closed. Apart from anything else, he was adamant the Welbeck setback did not change anything in terms of the chronic lack of availability of elite, Premier League-ready strikers to buy.

“You either find someone who strengthens your squad or not. Whether we have players injured or not doesn’t change the problem. That’s what I don’t understand from the media. I am surprised that people accused me of lying.

“When I was in the press conference on Friday morning, I did not know Welbeck had a bad setback. I did not lie to you, I gave you the information I had. I heard late on Friday night that his condition had not evolved as well as we thought it was and he had needed a specialist and needed further investigation. Apart from that, if we did not find someone [to sign], we did not find them. I can understand everyone’s hope, but if you look at what happened in the transfer market it shows you that there is a shortage of solutions out there.

"I have made more than 300 transfers and every time it's a decision to make. Do you buy the player because he strengthens his squad or not? The solutions we had were not convincing at all." – (Guardian service)