Arsene Wenger has again tried to play down fears about Arsenal’s lack of activity in the transfer market, and claims that he will continue to strive to bring players in right until the deadline on September 2. Despite chief executive Ivan Gazidis being at pains to point out that the club was now capable of competing at the top end of the transfer market, Arsenal’s only arrival in this close season has been France Under-20 striker Yaya Sanogo, on a free transfer from Ligue 2 side Auxerre.
"We are active,” Wenger told Arsenal’s website. “We are in a situation like Manchester United, like Chelsea, where everybody expects signings and at the moment not a lot has happened. There are 18 days to go, so that is a long time in the transfer market and we will be active. I cannot certify what the number [of players coming in will be], but we will be active until the end, that is for sure."
With just two days before the start of the new Premier League season, anxiety over Arsenal’s transfer activity has grown with what has recently appeared to be a hopeless chase for Luis Suarez. Liverpool owner John W. Henry recently came out and categorically stated that the forward would not be moving to Arsenal. And earlier this week reports in Uruguay claimed that Suarez had now intimated that he was prepared to accept his club’s stance.
But, speaking after Uruguay’s 4-2 friendly win over Japan, Suarez denied he had made those comments. "I didn't say that, maybe someone else did and the main thing is that I am here now with the national team," Japan's Kyodo News quoted him as saying.
And, according to The Daily Telegraph, Arsenal have been encouraged by the uncertainty and are considering making a third bid, which would amount to £49 million. Despite Liverpool’s posturing, it is, of course, unrealistic to think that there isn’t a price where the Merseyside club would be compelled to sell Suarez. However, it seems unlikely that £49 million will be that figure.
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It also appears increasingly probable that Arsenal will be disappointed in their attempts to recruit Bayern Munich midfielder Luiz Gustavo. The Brazil international has been told that he can leave the Bavarians and expressed a strong interest in moving to the Emirates. Yet, Bild is among the publications in Germany reporting that the 26-year-old has instead agreed to stay in Germany and sign for Wolfsburg. There is some surprise at the news, given the player’s comments and that Wolfsburg, having finished 11th in the Bundesliga last season, will not be playing in Europe this campaign. However, the club, owned by Volkswagen, is certainly not short of money, while the automobile manufacturer’s chairman sits on the board of Bayern Munich.
It had also been reported that Wenger has been pursuing Swansea City captain Ashley Williams to add strength to the center of Arsenal’s defense. With Thomas Vermaelen set to miss the opening weeks of the season through injury, Arsenal were thought to be reigniting their interest, although Swansea’s £10 million valuation was said to be a stumbling block. Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins, though, has denied that there has been any approach.
"Ash has grown with us. His performances and personality have grown with the club and he is a vital part of our team," he stated, according to Sky Sports. "He is a big part of our defense and now he is captain as well. He is a good leader to have at the club.
"As always, we want to keep those players and we hope he is with us for many years to come. We have had no phone calls about any of our players and we hope that continues."