Arsene Wenger has again stressed that he will not be pressured into making signings simply for the sake of it. There is now less than a week to go in a transfer window that started with bold statements from Arsenal about their new financial power and ability to compete at the top of the market. But Wenger has faced increasing dissention in recent weeks, having only brought in young French striker Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer.
Many have predicted a similar deadline-day dash to that which occurred in the summer of 2011. Several of the signings made in the dying embers of that window -- like Andre Santos, Chu-Young Park and Yossi Benayoun -- contributed very little before departing. But Wenger has said that he will only make the right signings.
"That is the key word -- the right additions," he explained. "That is what I work at -- the right additions. It is not just about additions.
"If you look at the players, you see [Tomas] Rosicky, [Santi] Cazorla, [Aaron] Ramsey, [Jack] Wilshere -- so to find better players you have to travel. [For example] we need a player who is versatile, who can play in different positions in midfield, because at the moment we are a little bit stretched.
"Attitude and focus [are also important], the mental aspect in the modern game is vital. I watched the games yesterday [Sunday] and you have to be completely focused for 90 minutes."
According to the Daily Mirror’s latest report, it is Karim Benzema who is the focus of Wenger’s attention. Talk of Arsenal’s interest in the Real Madrid striker has been frequent in recent days, but the tabloid’s story claims that Benzema has even been offered to the Gunners.
Such reports contradict comments from Benzema’s agent, who has claimed that the 25-year-old will be staying at the Bernabeu and, indeed, imminently signing a new contract. Benzema’s future is likely to depend on whether Madrid opt to pursue a move for Liverpool forward Luis Suarez.
Arsenal’s long pursuit of the Uruguayan was thought to have ended with him being integrated back into the Liverpool squad and the club stating that he would under no circumstances be sold to the Gunners. Incredibly, the Mirror believes that Arsenal are still monitoring Suarez’s situation.
There doesn’t appear to have yet been any further progress made on Arsenal’s attempts to pry Yohan Cabaye from Newcastle. A bid of around £10 million has been rejected with Newcastle set to be after around twice that amount, despite the France midfielder having his head turned to the extent that he has not played for the club since.
“The bottom line is with world-class players if they move on, it has to be world-class money,” Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said, according to Sky Sports. "The answer isn't as simple as a 'yes' or a 'no'. The answer is he is either going to be sold and we are going to have to replace him in the window that we have left, or he's going to stay.”
Arsenal appear to have missed out on another reported midfield target, however. There is a glaring lack of a natural defensive midfielder in Wenger’s squad, but so far deals have failed to materialize for both Lars Bender and Luiz Gustavo. And now, it seems, that Geoffrey Kondogbia can be added to that list.
The 20-year-old Sevilla man helped France to the Under-20 World Cup title this summer and has been linked with some of Europe’s biggest clubs. Yet, big-spending Monaco now look poised to secure his signature, having agreed to pay his €20 million (£17.2m) release clause, according to RMC.