Arsene Wenger has attempted to cool the fervor concerning Arsenal’s need to sign a striker in the January transfer window. Arsenal failed in their attempts to add an established front man in the summer and have been left heavily reliant on Olivier Giroud to main both form and fitness.
Injuries to Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski have exacerbated the situation, while Nicklas Bendtner was prevented from leaving in the close season but still appears keen on exiting the Emirates. Wenger, though believes that the return to fitness of Walcott and Podolski means there is less anxiety about needing to bring someone in when the transfer window reopens.
“Yes, Podolski is not back as well [yet], but he shouldn't be too far now,” he said, according to Sky Sports. "Theo gives us an opportunity to be a mobile striker. If we lose Giroud today we have nobody with body weight up front, apart from Bendtner.
"I think Bendtner has the level, but at the moment he doesn't get enough games -- and as well, in his head, is he here or has he planned to go [in January]?"
Also dampening expectations for a new signing, Wenger conceded that it is difficult to get in the “right player” in January.
“It is always difficult in the middle of the season,” he added. “If somebody is doing well somewhere, the clubs do not necessarily want to sell him. They can wait until the end of the season.”
The Daily Mail believes that Wenger’s reluctance to spend big in midseason could lead to him not following through on his interest in Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke. The powerful Belgian was heavily linked to the Gunners in the summer before he withdrew his transfer request and signed a new contract. Villa’s supposed £28 million asking price is likely to prove a stumbling block, however.
Instead, the Mail claims that Wenger could turn his attentions to a less expensive alternative in Getafe’s Ciprian Marica. The Romania international has scored once in seven appearances since joining the Spanish Primera Division outfit in September. It is hard to believe that Arsenal will now be interested in his signature, having been linked to the 28-year-old when he was a free agent but passing up the opportunity to bring him in.
One striker who definitely won’t be pulling on an Arsenal shirt in competitive action again is Thierry Henry. Currently in the offseason for his Major League Soccer club, the New York Red Bulls, the Gunners legend, along with former “Invincibles” teammate Robert Pires, has once again been training with his former club to maintain fitness. And once more there has been predictable speculation that the 36-year-old could return on a short-term deal. Unlike at the beginning of January 2012, though, that will not be happening this New Year.
“They like to come back to Arsenal, to practice,” Wenger said, according to Arsenal.com. “When they can join in, they do. They integrate well with the spirit of the team. Nothing more than that!”
Concerning the other end of the pitch, there has been more speculation that Arsenal could attempt to sign Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas. After being frozen out in the second half of last season under Jose Mourinho, the Spain captain has found his appearances under Carlo Ancelotti limited to the Champions League and Cope del Rey. Yet, an outstanding showing earlier this month showed that the 32-year-old had lost none of his shot-stopping ability.
Speaking at a recent publicity event, Casillas said that he was not concerned with how his situation would impact his chances of being his country’s starter for next year’s World Cup and was instead focused on fighting to regain his starting berth with Real Madrid. Such comments suggest that Casillas will not make a decision over his future until the end of the season.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.