March 12 2014 Latest news:
By James Cunliffe
Friday, January 31, 2014
Arsene Wenger said this morning that there is no chance of signing Schalke’s Julian Draxler today but insists he’s 80 per cent confident of making one swoop before the transfer window shuts.
The Arsenal boss admitted that, if he can bring a new recruit to the club before tonight’s 11pm deadline, it will most likely be a midfield player due to the sudden weaknesses in that area with 31-year-old Spartak Moscow man Kim Kallstrom the leading candidate.
Aaron Ramsey is set for six weeks out, Jack Wilshere is injured and Mathieu Flamini will serve a three match ban for his red card during the 2-2 midweek draw at Southampton.
But a much lauded mega-money move for German international Draxler appears dead in the water with Wenger revealing that the speculation has no foundation.
“The Draxler situation has been created by the newspapers, not by me,” the Gunners boss said, adding: “Nothing is happening on that front. He will stay at Schalke.”
He added: “We are open minded, active and looking at the opportunities.
“We’ll still try to bring at least one body in because we are a bit hit by the red card of Flamini, the setback of Ramsey and the fact that Wilshere is not available, though I hope it will be short term.
“In an area where we have plenty of players, suddenly we are a bit short.”
After failing to land a striker in the summer transfer window, when a move from Chelsea’s Demba Ba broke down at the 11th hour, Wenger’s strikeforce options have looked lightweight, with Nicklas Bendtner the only back-up to Olivier Giroud.
“That’s still open as well,” the manager said of the search for striker, adding: “If something comes up we are not against it.”
But his main concern today will be in the middle of the pitch.
“At the moment we need more midfielders,” Wenger admitted.
In summer Arsenal splash out a club record £42.5million on Mesut Ozil just hours before that transfer window shut.
It provided a boost for the club and their form subsequently has seen the maintain a Premier League title challenge.
However, Wenger insisted that, should no reinforcements it would not feel like an anti-climax.
He said: “In the transfer window there is always hope. It’s a bit superficial and artificial but what is concrete is that we are in a strong position in the league and I don’t see why it should be an anti-climax.
“We are where nobody expected us to be, so we have to be focused, proud and ambitious to finish the season well.
“Results are not made by the transfer market in winter; they are made by performances on the pitch. On that front we have shown that we can be very competitive.
“We are a bit short now but I’m confident that we will be able to do something today.”
But the Gunners were knocked off top spot in the league by Manchester City on Wednesday, Wenger is still confident that his men can maintain their title challenge withouth any new arrivals.
“Why should we not?” he said. “We are in a position to do it after 23 games with the squad we have available now. Why should we suddenly give up.”
Yet Wenger admits he will be delighted when the window shuts this evening so he can get on with the business of winning football matches – starting with a home London derby against Crystal Palace on Sunday.
“It is a bit distracting from the competition,” Wenger said.
“I can understand that everybody is interested in what is happening and who is going where but that’s not real football.”