Mikel Arteta described his confidence in Arsenal signing new players this month as “50-50”, but he appears confident Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is not about to leave the club.
Calum Chambers has suffered a serious injury, while Arsenal will now also be without David Luiz through suspension after a red card at Chelsea, leaving Arteta short on defenders.
The Gunners have been linked with Shakhtar Donetsk’s Mykola Matvienko and Paris Saint-Germain’s Layvin Kurzawa, although Arteta would not comment on specific names ahead of the FA Cup fourth-round tie at Bournemouth.
The head coach acknowledged Arsenal have been looking at defenders, but he was unsure if there would be any January arrivals.
“I’m not going to be discussing any transfer links publicly,” he told a news conference. “It’s something that we are trying to do internally and, when we have news, we will communicate with you guys.
“We’ve been looking at different positions. Obviously, since I joined, we lost Calum and we had other circumstances and injuries in those positions, so it’s true that, at the back, we’ve been short.
“But there are other positions as well, depending on what happens in the market, that we might need to assess.
“At the moment, I am 50-50, because this transfer window is very, very complicated. I only want to bring somebody in if I’m really convinced that he can really improve the level that we have.”
Are we still in the transfer market for a defender this month?
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) January 24, 2020
One move Arteta is keen not to see go through, though, both this month and beyond, is Aubameyang to Barcelona, amid reported interest from the LaLiga giants.
Suggestions in the Spanish media this week said Aubameyang was open to the transfer, but that is not Arteta’s understanding.
“As far as I know, a week ago, after a game at home, we were discussing that he said he was so happy,” Arteta said.
“He didn’t agree with the things that were written in the media and [said] he has his future here. That’s what I understand at the moment.”
Dani Ceballos’ future appears less clear, the on-loan Real Madrid midfielder having been linked with a return to LaLiga after struggling to establish himself at Emirates Stadium and contending with injury.
“I had a conversation with Dani,” Arteta said. “When I joined the club, he wasn’t here, he was in Madrid because he was doing his rehab – for over a month – in Madrid with the team that owns him.
“And then, when I came here, he was doing his rehab and, by the first two or three weeks, he was getting back to fitness and I haven’t seen much of him because he’s only trained with us for a week or 10 days.
“So it’s very early to assess what I can or cannot do with him. I heard about all those things but I have nothing to comment.
“He needs to get back to fitness and fight for his place. After that, we will make the selection that I think is fair with what I see on the pitch.”
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