Arsène Wenger has reiterated his belief that he has enough forward options to cover for the injured Olivier Giroud, but did not rule out signings ahead of the close of the transfer window. Giroud is likely to be out until January after suffering a fractured left tibia, prompting much speculation that he will delve back into the market before next Monday’s deadline.
“You have decided I have to buy strikers. I’ve not necessarily decided,” he said in his press conference ahead of the match with Leicester City on Sunday. “If I give you the number of strikers we have right now, it’s unbelievable. We have [Yaya] Sanogo, [Alexis] Sánchez, [Theo] Walcott, [Lukas] Podolski, Giroud will come back during the season. [Joel] Campbell can play center-forward as well. Of course we can be successful. The success of a season doesn’t depend on one player you buy or not.
“When we think money has to be spent, we do it. It is harder to buy top, top players because everyone is in the market and everybody knows each other.
"I will be actively involved. I will be on alert until the last minute of the transfer deadline.”
Much talk has abounded that Arsenal could make a move for Monaco striker Radamel Falcao, with the Colombian believed to be available on a season-long loan for a fee of £20 million. “It’s very difficult to go into all that,” Wenger said when asked about pursuing Falcao. “I believe once again, all the negotiations have to be as secret as possible. If we sign somebody, if we sign Falcao, you will be informed.”
The size of the fee involved for such a short-term solution and the fact that the player is thought to be keen to join Real Madrid means that it would be a major surprise were he to turn up at the Emirates before the transfer window deadline. More likely is that it will be a central defender that arrives. With the sale of Thomas Vermaelen, Arsenal have just Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and 19-year-old Calum Chambers as established options.
Having been strongly linked with Kostas Manolas, who has now joined Roma, the Gunners are reportedly interested in another Greece international. According to the Daily Mirror, Arsenal are considering making a £12 million bid for Borussia Dortmund’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos. The 26-year-old only joined Dortmund last year, and, while he could find himself behind Mats Hummels and the fit again Neven Subotic in the pecking order, it is unlikely that manager Jurgen Klopp will want to lose his services so close to the end of the transfer window. The Mirror believes Dortmund want as much as £20 million.
The other area Arsenal could strengthen is in defensive midfield. With one-time target Sami Khedira now set to stay at Real Madrid, French publication L’Equipe has reported that Arsenal met with officials of Paris Saint-Germain during the Champions League draw in Monaco on Thursday to discuss a possible transfer for Adrien Rabiot. The highly rated 19-year-old has just a year remaining on his contract. However, Arsenal will have to move fast if they want to complete a transfer, with L’Equipe later stating that Roma had agreed a €15 million (£12m) fee for that player.
One midfielder who Arsenal will seemingly not be signing, though, is Alex Song. The Cameroonian has been made available by Barcelona, just two years after they signed him from Arsenal. It has previously been suggested that Wenger would be keen to bring him back to the Emirates, however, he said earlier this week that there would be no reunion.
“Alex Song will not be coming back,” he stated, according to Goal.com.
The 26-year-old is now in talks with West Ham, according to Sky Sports.