Arsenal safely secured their place in the Champions League group stage for the second-straight season, but it came at a considerable cost with Lukas Podolski, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere all suffering injuries of varying degrees. With several injuries already depleting a paper-thin squad, Arsene Wenger has again reiterated his desire to bring in players before Monday’s transfer deadline.
“We have to see how bad the injuries are. I cannot tell you more than we are on the market,” he said, after the 5-0 aggregate win over Fenerbahce, according to Arsenal.com. “Everybody knows. The whole world knows that now. I cannot be more creative than that in the press conferences because all has been said and nothing has been concluded yet so I can understand your questions but I cannot give you more answers at the moment.”
There may well have been a clue to the identity of Arsenal’s latest target by the fact that the father of Chelsea’s Juan Mata was in the crowd at the Emirates on Tuesday evening. There has been much speculation about the Spaniard’s future as a result of him being left out of the starting lineup for two of Chelsea’s three matches of the new season. It is also well established that Wenger was keen on the attacking midfielder before Chelsea beat him to the signing two years ago
"I have heard like you, because I watched the game last night [between Manchester United and Chelsea] that Juan Mata could be on the market," Wenger said, according to The Guardian. "I don't know ... there is anyway a reluctance in England to sell to each other. I like him."
When asked if Mata’s father had been invited as a guest of the club, Wenger provided an interesting response. “No, I don’t know. Maybe,” he said.
Wenger’s focus may well have switched to Mata with it appearing increasingly unlikely that he will be able to procure players from Real Madrid. The imminent arrival at the Bernabeu of Gareth Bale and possible signing of Luis Suarez has led to speculation about the futures of Karim Benzema, Angel di Maria and Mesut Ozil. Arsenal were said to be monitoring the situations of all three.
However, with Benzema’s agent already stating that the France striker has no intention of moving on, Di Maria and Ozil have now done likewise.
"I understand that the club is strengthening and they are precise in what they do," Di Maria said, according to Spanish sports daily AS. "But I signed up to 2018 just a year ago and my desire is to stay at the Bernabeu."
Madrid-based publication Marca has reported that Madrid would like to sell Di Maria when Bale arrives, but that coach Carlo Ancelotti is keen on the Argentinian winger to stay. And Ozil has also pledged his future to the Spanish giants, despite claims by The Sun that the Germany international has requested wages of £200,000 a week to join either Arsenal or Manchester United.
“I feel really good here and it's an honor to play for this club,” he said at an Adidas event on Wednesday, according to Marca. "I have a contract until 2016 and I'm staying at Real Madrid"
Wenger, though, has refused to rule out a move for Wayne Rooney. Arsenal have remained in the background as Chelsea have had two bids rejected for the unsettled Manchester United forward. But, after Rooney started against Chelsea on Monday, Jose Mourinho claimed it was now up to the player to put in a transfer request if he really desired a switch to Stamford Bridge. It is now hard to imagine the 27-year-old departing Old Trafford, but Wenger was coy when asked on Tuesday.
“Look we cannot speak about players who are under contract with other clubs,” he said. “When players are under contract at another club, they have to respect the contract. If you want to buy the player, you have to speak to the club first. I think we have all to accept that.”