Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has played down expectations that he will be able to add to his squad before they face a crucial Champions League qualifier in just over two weeks’ time. Despite boasting about their new financial power this summer, the Gunners have so far only recruited France Under-20 striker Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer from Ligue 2 side Auxerre.
“Let's count first on what is here, and if we can add something then we will do,” he said after his side lost 2-1 to Galatasaray to close the Emirates Cup. “It's very difficult to predict that that will all be sorted out before we play in the Champions League qualifier. I think we have enough quality to achieve it with the players we have at the moment, if we can bring more in before that it is even better.”
The focus of Arsenal’s attention in the transfer market in recent weeks has been Liverpool’s Luis Suarez. Having made a second bid of £40 million and £1 to try and force the issue over a clause in the forward’s contract, the Gunners have faced accusations of acting without class by Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers.
But Wenger insists that they are continuing to try and keep things amicable. "We try to do it properly, but a transfer is always an agreement between three parties and we have always done that until now," he explained.
With Liverpool not prepared to consider selling unless Arsenal dramatically increase their bid, the situation is likely to have to turn hostile on Suarez’s part in order for a transfer to take place. BBC Sport has reported that the Uruguayan is now considering handing in a formal transfer request, while also contemplating legal action. Suarez’s camp believes a clause in his contract now entitles him to discuss a move to the Emirates.
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Injuries could also force Wenger into the transfer market for a central defender. Thomas Vermaelen is out for six weeks with a back injury, leaving just Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny as fit and established options in the center of defense. Regular right-back Bacary Sagna lined up in the middle for the clash with Galatasaray.
The Daily Mirror believes that Wenger could now make a firm move for Swansea captain Ashley Williams. The Wales international has long been on Arsenal’s radar but Swansea’s valuation of £10 million was viewed as prohibitive. Now, though, having watched the player once more in Europa League action last week, Swansea are said to be willing to listen to offers of £8.5 million from a top club.
Arsenal’s squad would also be improved by adding a player with a true physical presence in the center of midfield. Having had a bid rejected for Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars Bender and being linked with Everton’s Marouane Fellaini, Arsenal have now reportedly turned their attentions to Freiburg youngster Matthias Ginter. There had even been claims that a £6.1 million fee had been agreed for the 19-year-old, but his Bundesliga side have dismissed such suggestions.
“There have been no offers for Matthias, and to suggest we have agreed a fee, as mentioned, is nonsense,” sporting director Joachim Saier said, according to the Daily Mail. “The fact of the matter is, we have no thoughts about selling him.” The Daily Mail also reports that Arsenal are interested in another young talent in the form of Real Betis winger Alvaro Vadillo. And the La Liga side have revealed that there has been firm interest in the highly rated 18-year-old.
“We are studying offers for him and there has been a concrete one recently from a foreign team,” manager Pepe Mel is reported to have said. “But if he is worth €4million (£3.5m) today after playing 30 matches then, for example, he could be worth €12million (£10.4m) and so on.” Follow Jason Le Miere on Twitter