Wenger offers no transfer guarantees
Arsene Wenger maintains Arsenal will be active in the transfer window right up to the deadline - but stressed he could give no guarantees.
Chief executive Ivan Gazidis may have talked up the Emirates Stadium club's new "financial firepower" at the end of last season, but so far the only confirmed signing has been France Under-21 forward Yaya Sanogo, and that on a free transfer from Auxerre.
Arsenal, who failed to land Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain earlier in the summer, continue to pursue wantaway Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, but will have to up their bid to closer to £50million with the Reds unwilling to sell. Bayern Munich's Brazil midfielder Luiz Gustavo is a target, while 20-year-old Lille winger Florian Thauvin is another said to be on Wenger's radar, as is Romania forward Ciprian Marica following his release by Schalke.
While the Gunners boss clearly is determined to bolster his squad, albeit not in time for next week's crucial UEFA Champions League playoff first leg against Fenerbache in Turkey, Wenger accepts patience will be key as the clock ticks down towards the Sept. 2 deadline.
"We are active," Wenger told Arsenal Player. "We are in a situation like Manchester United, like Chelsea, where everybody expects signings and at the moment not a lot has happened. There are 18 days to go, so that is a long time in the transfer market and we will be active. I cannot certify what the number [of players coming in will be], but we will be active until the end, that is for sure."
Although Wenger may have so far been frustrated in his plans to strengthen the team, at least several fringe players have been taken off the wage bill, with the exits of Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh both now confirmed. Wenger feels Gervinho, who signed for Roma in an £8million deal, had been unable to overcome the negativity from some Arsenal supporters.
"I made that decision because he looked to play with a lack of confidence, especially at the Emirates," Wenger said. "He is a very creative player, an instinctive dribbler and for that you need a lot of confidence to be completely efficient. I felt that in the last six months it was very difficult for him to express his talent in a confident way.
"Then you sit there and think, 'do I bring him back or does he need a new challenge to get that confidence back?' and I did not want to stop him from getting a new chance."
Arsenal tackle Aston Villa when the new campaign opens this weekend, and Wenger is hoping Arsenal will not be short on numbers. Midfielders Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta have joined England forward Theo Walcott as fitness concerns.
Walcott limped out of last night's 3-2 win over Scotland at Wembley, where he scored England's first equalizer, with a knee problem, but initially reported no serious concerns. Midfielder Jack Wilshere, who has endured a string of fitness problems, played only the first half by agreement last night, and with Arteta already carrying a knock, Wenger will be keen for any news on the returning Cazorla, who scored in Spain's friendly in Ecuador.
"We have positive news from the players on international duty. All the texts we had have back are okay. The games were quite intense, but we hope everyone comes back in good shape," Wenger said. "Mikel has a slight thigh problem. We have to check that. I don't know if he will be out for the weekend. He has a scan today."
Like most Premier League clubs, the midweek internationals played havoc with preparations for the new campaign. Midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who had impressed during the preseason tour of Asia, pulled out of the Wales squad with an ankle injury, while reports suggest right back Bacary Sagna also suffered a similar problem while playing for France against Belgium.
Wenger, though, was already counting to be without defensive pair Naco Monreal and captain Thomas Vermaelen, who both have back problems. While full-back Monreal is within a couple of weeks of a return, Belgian defender Vermaelen looks set for a continued frustrating spell on the sidelines.
"It is difficult to put a timescale on it, but it will be a bit longer. He is progressing okay," Wenger said.