LONDON (Reuters) – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger sought to calm frustration among the club’s fans over a lack of new signings by saying on Friday that he hoped to bring in two or three players before the transfer window closes.
The north London club start their Premier League season at home to Aston Villa on Saturday having failed to land any of the big names they have been linked with and their only addition is French youth international forward Yaya Sanogo.
“I don’t disagree that we are a bit light at the moment but there is 18 days to go until the end of the transfer market and we are of course looking to strengthen our squad,” Wenger told a news conference.
“I understand every frustration, you have so many frustrated people, but what is important is the quality of what you do on the pitch, so let’s not create a crisis from nothing,” he added.
“We just played a good game last week (a 3-1 win over Manchester City in a friendly) so let’s transfer that to the next game and not start to convince everybody that the quality of the team that starts on Saturday will be linked with the number of players we buy between today and tomorrow.”
Arsenal have been chasing Liverpool’s unsettled striker Luis Suarez but have had their 40 million and one pound bid turned down, while they were also linked with Gonzalo Higuain who has instead joined Napoli from Real Madrid.
Asked if Arsenal were still pursuing Uruguay international Suarez, Wenger replied with a smile: “Look, I don’t want to come out on any specific name because that would not be alright, usually in the press you are well informed.”
Arsenal’s search for new players could become more urgent as the injuries have been mounting before the season has even started with central defender Thomas Vermaelen, midfielder Abou Diaby and fullback Nacho Monreal already sidelined.
Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta is the latest addition to the list having picked up a thigh injury in training and could miss the first six weeks of the season, Wenger said.
“It could be as long (as six weeks) but honestly we don’t know yet. We have to check the severity with the doctor,” Wenger was quoted as saying on the club website (www.arsenal.com).
Arsenal, who finished fourth last season to secure a Champions League playoff spot, are not the only club having little luck in the transfer window with Premier League champions Manchester United and third-placed Chelsea in similar positions.
“Ideally you would want to be quicker, but to finalise (a) transfer you need agreement of three parties,” Wenger said.
“You look at us, Chelsea and Manchester United – it’s difficult to find quality players to strengthen the team and squad because there is a shortage of top players who are available.
“It is not the question about spending the money it is a question of finding the right players, you know. As I told you, you are well informed, you for certain have heard that we are not scared to spend money but we want the right players.”
With the transfer window shutting on September 2, there is still time for some activity and Wenger hopes to seal a few deals.
“It’s impossible to give you a number. The first request is quality to play for Arsenal Football Club. After the number comes in, yes we would like two or three players, if possible more,” he said.
“But we won’t compromise on the quality of the players.”
Arsenal visit Fenerbahce in their Champions league playoff on Wednesday with the return leg at the Emirates on August 27.