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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: I would not have signed Kim Kallstrom if we’d had more time

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Picture: PA Wire Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Picture: PA Wire

Sunday, February 2, 2014
8:48 PM

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits he wouldn’t have signed Swedish midfielder Kim Kallstrom if he’d had more time before Friday’s transfer deadline.

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The 31-year-old joined the Gunners on a season-long loan from Spartak Moscow but it soon emerged that a micro-fracture in his back will keep him out of action until late February at the earliest.

Wenger still hopes Kallstrom can play an important role for Arsenal later in the season, but he admits the club ran out of time to look at other options.

Speaking after Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Crystal Palace, Wenger said: “[Being fit at the end of February] is the best-case scenario. I am sure if you have played football you might have played with a micro-fracture of your vertebra without even noticing it because on a normal scan you don’t find out.

“They [Spartak Moscow] will pay the first six weeks’ wages.

“He might play before that [the end of February], but he might play as well later.

“Of course it crossed my mind [to pull out of the deal]. I would not have signed him if we had two or three more days to do something, but it was Friday night at five o’clock, so it was [a case of] you [sign] nobody or you do it under these conditions.

“I decided to do it because we might, because of the number of games we have now in February, need the players in March or April.

“There is a possibility [that he may not play], but as well there is the possibility that he scores us the winning goal that might be vitally important.”

Wenger continued: “We could have gone without, but first of all you must identify a player who has the quality to play for us in January.

“Then, because we have the number of players needed in that area, [they have to be] not locked in a deal of three or four years, where you pay the players to do nothing.

“So to find a player on a free loan, of that quality, on Wednesday morning until Friday night, is not easy.”

Nevertheless, Wenger accepted it was a move which could come back to haunt Arsenal as they go in search of a first trophy since 2005.

“At some stage in our job you have to make a decision. Are you wrong or right? You will only know at the end of the season,” the Arsenal boss said.

“I made this decision because, since the start of the season, all our central midfielders have missed a part of the season and it can happen that a few of them miss the next part [of the season] together.”

On Arsenal’s lack of spending in January, Wenger said: “We are not against spending, but at the moment we are focused on the second part of the season, and at the end of the season we will see what we will do.

“You have announced a lot of transfers in your papers that have not happened, in many places, that means it is not as easy as it looks, even with money, to buy the right players in that period.”

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