Saturday, January 29, 2022

No panic buys for Wenger

Arsene Wenger insists he won’t rush into the transfer market despite Arsenal’s spluttering start to the season.

Wenger was furious with his players after Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Fulham and was expected to respond by stepping up his attempt to sign a new midfielder.

The Gunners boss has been linked with Liverpool’s Xabi Alonso and Aston Villa’s Gareth Barry and the transfer window shuts on Monday, but he has no intention of losing faith in his squad.

“I believe we have a strong squad and I believe in the players I have instead of always looking at who might be coming in,” he said. “It is not one player who makes a difference.

“It is up to us as a team to show personality, strength and belief within the squad. That will make the difference.

“We just look at the right player and if we can get him, we get him. If we don’t, we don’t.

“If nothing is done, it will not limit our ambitions because of it.”

Arsenal lacked any urgency on Saturday but the expected return of Cesc Fabregas after a hamstring injury for Wednesday’s Champions League qualifier against FC Twente should provide a much-needed boost.

Wenger held a meeting with his players on Monday when he made it clear some players hadn’t given enough at Craven Cottage and he won’t tolerate a repeat performance.

“We have talked about everything needed to be successful in a team, and commitment is needed for any success, no matter how much quality you have,” Wenger said.

“We live in a world now where you have to accept the critics and a definite conclusion from everybody.

“But I know my squad is good, my team is good, our spirit is good.

“We are intelligent enough to know we did not play well on Saturday, but we know as well we have the needed quality to respond.

“We completely understand the critics because we were not good – but we promise we will come back and play well tomorrow, to put a good performance in.”

Although the Gunners hold a 2-0 lead from the first leg that should be enough to book their place in the lucrative group stage, Wenger warned his players not to underestimate Steve McClaren’s side.

“We have done the job well at Twente, but the job is not over,” he said. “We have to respect Twente and come into the game with a desire to win.

“It is not always easy to go into a match when you lead 2-0, but I want us to be positive and to win it.”

Wenger admitted he let Swiss centre-back Philippe Senderos join AC Milan because Mikael Silvestre’s arrival from Manchester United has given him enough defensive options.

The 23-year-old, who endured an erratic five-year spell with the Gunners, was due to undergo a medical with the Serie A club on Tuesday.

“Senderos has gone to Milan and will complete a medical,” Wenger said. “At the moment, he does not get the games here, and so now he can play somewhere and remains in a top-level club.

“We have Johan Djourou, we have Kolo Toure, we have Senderos, we have Alex Song, William Gallas and Mikael Silvestre now who can play centre-back so we have a congestion there. We want him to play without losing him.

“It has not been decided yet whether the transfer will be permanent.”

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