Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger as dismissed the clamor for him to spend big to reinforce his Arsenal squad in this month’s transfer window by claiming that the current quality of his roster makes it difficult to find players to improve it.
The Gunners currently lie in sixth place in the Premier League and look set to face a real battle to maintain their place in the Champions League next season. But perhaps the lowest point of Wenger’s 16-year reign came last month in a defeat to fourth-tier Bradford in the League Cup.
After a summer in which they made a profit on their transfer dealings, the pressure is being applied to Wenger to spend significant sums in January.
"We are working very hard," Wenger told Arsenal’s official Web site.
"It has become more difficult [to buy players in January] for one simple reason: we have a good squad. I know we swim against the stream a bit because people don’t believe that. I say we have a very good squad.
"But we have some improvements to make and we know exactly where. In January it is difficult to find the players that are really better and can give something special to the squad. The number is right, we have a good balance and we are working very hard to find what we want."
Midfield is one of the areas Wenger may well be looking to strengthen. However, despite reports to the contrary, it appears that Arsenal have not made a bid for West Ham’s Mohamed Diame.
Arsenal have been repeatedly linked to the 25-year-old since it emerged that the dynamic midfielder had a release clause in his contract of just £3.5 million.
But West Ham boss Sam Allardyce has said there has been no approach from the Gunners and nor did he expect there to be.
"You are always worried about losing players but we have not had a bid from Arsenal for Mo Diame,” he said, according to Sky Sports. “I can't see where he would fit into their side."
It appears that Arsenal’s long-standing link to Rennes defensive midfielder Yann M’Vila can finally be brought to a close. The France international is now poised to join Queens Park Rangers for £7 million, following a summer in which Arsenal were said to be close to signing the 22-year-old for more than twice that amount.
It is widely believed that M’Vila’s attitude and continued disciplinary problems dissuaded Wenger from making a move. Yet, QPR boss Harry Redknapp he has revealed that he convinced M’Vila to sign for his club by suggesting that it could be a springboard to a move that he truly desires.
“I told him that he would come here and be a good player, and if he does well, if we stay up, in 18 months he could get a move to Manchester United, or Arsenal, or Chelsea, if that is what he is looking for,” Redknapp said, according to the Daily Mail.
A new name is being linked to Arsenal, with the Daily Mirror claiming that the Gunners are monitoring the progress of teenage Nantes winger George-Kevin Nkoudou.
Porto, Juventus and Benfica are also believed to be chasing the France Under-17 international. Nkoudou, 17, is thought to have a £1 million release clause in his contract.
Arsenal look set to face a challenge to sign another 17-year-old. The Gunners are one of a number of clubs, along with Chelsea and Manchester United, to be linked to highly-rated left-back Luke Shaw.
While Shaw has said that he is set to commit his future to Southampton by signing a five-year contract when he turns 18, he has also now revealed via Twitter that he is a Chelsea fan.
Arsenal have previously signed fellow Southampton youth products Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.