Premier League

Wenger rules out Villa move

Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger during a training session ahead of Arsenal's FA Cup tie against Brighton.
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Manager Arsene Wenger has warned Arsenal fans not to expect any "miracle" signings during the January transfer window.

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The Gunners, who head to Brighton for Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round tie, have been linked with a string of players across Europe, from Barcelona striker David Villa and Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels, Montpellier playmaker Younes Belhanda to West Ham midfielder Mohamed Diame.

Wenger, however, insists his main concern is about maintaining performance levels on the back of their midweek 5-1 thrashing of West Ham at Emirates Stadium, which kickstarted their Premier League campaign.

"What I worry about is getting the players who have been injured back fit, to get the players who play for this club to perform at full potential," Wenger said at this morning's pre-match press conference.

"If we perform at full potential we cannot expect any miracle from outside, we want to make things happen inside.

"If someone else can strengthen our squad, we will do it of course, but we have the resources inside to do well.

"We have two players in every position, that should be enough, plus the young players in behind.

"But if we find the top-class players in any position, we never refuse to strengthen our squad."

Wenger stressed Arsenal had not lodged any formal bids with their reported targets.

He said: "We have been linked with David Villa, like Chelsea, but there's nothing concrete there. We are not on the case."

On Hummels, the Gunners boss said: "No, I can't imagine Dortmund selling their defenders in the middle of the season anyway and we have not made any approach there."

Diame stressed he was happy at Upton Park on Thursday, having only moved there from Wigan in the summer.

Wenger said: "We cannot come out with the names we are on. We have not approached West Ham on that."

Overall, Wenger is not a big fan of the January window.

"I think it should be all completely cut out or limited to two players," he said.

"It is unfair for the league that some teams who have played for example now twice Newcastle already have an advantage on teams who play Newcastle now they have bought six or seven players.

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"You do not face exactly the same team so I believe the number of players you could buy should be limited."

Arsenal will be without captain Thomas Vermaelen because of a minor ankle injury tomorrow.

Midfielders Abou Diaby and Tomas Rosicky are back in contention.

Wenger has called for his men to continue where they left off against the Irons, running in four goals in the space of 10 minutes at the start of the second half.

"We wanted to respond and get the points because we have to make up some ground (in the Premier League)," he said.

"What is very important for me is the manner in which we responded.

"It was a continuity of the second half at Chelsea and from now on, it's important that we continue like that."

Wenger, though, will be taking nothing for granted against the Seagulls, who knocked Newcastle out in round three and are in the npower Championship promotion shake-up.

He said: "They play out from the back, have a lot of possession and a big South American influence with their manager, the players they have, and the way they play.

"You know you will face a typical away game in the Premier League."

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