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Wenger wants quality, not quantity

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is aware of the club’s need to strengthen in the transfer market but says he is focused on signing quality players.

In the wake of Arsenal missing out on yet another reported transfer target, as Brazilian midfielder Luiz Gustavo moved to Wolfsburg on Friday, Wenger acknowledged that his squad still needs additions.

The Emirates Stadium outfit have signed just one player in the close-season, 20-year-old French forward Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer.

But Arsenal – who have seen other targets in Gonzalo Higuain, Jesus Navas and Clement Grenier move elsewhere – are remaining confident over potential business.

Their pursuit of wantaway Liverpool striker Luis Suarez continues and Wenger, who assured fans on the club’s official website of more arrivals on Thursday, re-iterated his stance at a press conference ahead of their Premier League opener against Aston Villa.

“I don’t disagree that we are a bit light at the moment,” Wenger said.

“We are looking to strengthen our squad. We’re looking more for quality than for numbers. We would like two or three players, if possible more.

“(But) it’s not a question of spending money, it’s a question of buying the right players.”

Wenger was more concerned about the club’s injury issues ahead of Saturday’s clash with Villa.

Club captain Thomas Vermaelen and Nacho Monreal (both back) are confirmed as absentees, as is Spanish midfielder and vice-captain Mikel Arteta, who suffered a thigh injury in training this week.

Doubts persist over the fitness of Bacary Sagna and Aaron Ramsey (both ankle), while Theo Walcott suffered a knee injury in England’s 3-2 friendly win over Scotland on Wednesday.

“Vermaelen is out. Monreal is out. Arteta will be out,” the Frenchman added.

“Monreal will return soon – the others are a bit longer.”

When quizzed on Arteta’s likely return, following reports that he could miss more than a month, Wenger admitted: “I don’t know.”

Those absentees will be a blow for the Frenchman, whose side face a difficult first two weeks of the season, in which they face Villa, rivals Tottenham and Fulham in the Premier League, while Fenerbahce also await in a two-legged UEFA Champions League play-off.

Wenger is wary of the threat of Villa ahead of the opener, particularly from Belgian forward Christian Benteke.

The 22-year-old, who made a U-turn on his transfer request during the close-season, scored 19 Premier League goals in 34 appearances last term.

“He (Benteke) has qualities that you cannot lose over the summer,” Wenger added. “I think he can be more dangerous this season as well.”

Fri 16 Aug, 2013
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