Arsene Wenger ready to do January business as injuries mount

Francis Coquelin is the latest in a long list of Arsenal’s first team squad to be sidelined

Arsene Wenger is ready to dip into the January transfer market as the Emirates injury-list lengthens. Photograph: Getty

Arsene Wenger is ready to dip into the January transfer market as the Emirates injury-list lengthens. Photograph: Getty

 

Arsene Wenger is ready to enter the January transfer market to avoid an injury crisis at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners are still missing a host of first-team players heading into Sunday’s Barclays Premier League clash at Norwich and were hit with the news that midfielder Francis Coquelin faces three months on the sidelines after injuring his knee in the defeat at West Brom last weekend.

Wenger’s side kept their Champions League last 16 hopes alive with victory over Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday night and also welcomed back Aaron Ramsey from a hamstring problem as a late substitute.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could return at Carrow Road while fellow England international Theo Walcott is back in training and is close to a comeback.

But the likes of Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck, Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta all in the treatment room alongside Coquelin, with a lack of central midfielders the main issue Wenger is likely to address if he buys in the transfer window.

Despite always suggesting there is no good business to be done in the new year, the Arsenal boss admits he could be tempted for the second year in a row having signed defender Gabriel last January.

“We are in a position where we want to do something,” he said.

Second Captains

“If I find the right quality I will do something. (The injury to) Arteta is short term but Coquelin as I told you is much longer but the scans are positive because he does not need any surgery, but it will be 12 weeks.

“Walcott goes through a few tests and steps but the first one was successful. He started running again on Tuesday morning and had no reaction. He has no big hurdle to get across today and hopefully he will be successful.”

The injury list means Wenger will continue to play Alexis Sanchez despite his recent exertions for both club and country.

The Chile forward played 90 minutes against Dinamo and scored his first goals since mid-October and sustained a minor hamstring problem.

Asked if the likely returns of Ramsey and Oxlade-Chamberlain would give him the opportunity to rest Sanchez at Norwich, Wenger said: “I will have to assess that a bit later.

“Spontaneously it might not be the best moment to rest Alexis but I don’t know. He had a little hamstring alarm but we will see how he recovers from that. Joel Campbell had a little calf problem so I will assess all that Friday, latest Saturday.”

On the face of it, a trip to newly-promoted Norwich will be seen by many as a good place to collect three points in Arsenal’s quest to maintain a title challenge.

But Wenger knows it will not always be as straightforward as that after he saw his side humbled at the Hawthorns by Tony Pulis’ West Brom.

“For us, it was a bad result,” he said.

“But on the day everything went against us, they had one shot on target and scored two goals. That will not always happen.

“On top of that we missed a penalty and scored an own goal, so we had a nightmare. It was an unlucky day, that can happen in a season but after it is how you respond to that and we did that well on Tuesday.”

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