Arsenal need more players - Wenger
Published 29/08/2013 | 14:57
Arsenal have brought former midfielder Mathieu Flamini back to the Emirates Stadium - but manager Arsene Wenger admits a long injury lay-off for Germany forward Lukas Podolski means he must act swiftly again ahead of the transfer deadline.
Flamini, 29, made 153 appearances for the Gunners from 2004 to 2008, and returns to the club after five seasons in Serie A with AC Milan, having become a free agent earlier in the summer.
While Wenger believes the versatile France international - who was deployed at left-back in the 2006 Champions League final defeat to Barcelona in Paris - is more of a complete player now then when he left after allowing his contract to run-down, the Arsenal manager accepts he must further bolster his depleted squad before the window shuts on September 2.
"The best years are in front of him (Flamini) now - the next three years. Physically, he is perfect. He was tested, prepared and he is physically in fantastic shape," Wenger said on Arsenal Player.
"He knows how we play football, knows the club and had a huge desire to come back.
"He was available because he was out of contract and he is a quality player, and a focused player, so those were all the reasons that pushed me to make that decision."
Despite bids for Gonzalo Higuain, Luis Suarez and Yohan Cabaye, so far France Under-21 forward Yaya Sanogo was the only other confirmed new recruit - and that also on a free transfer.
Arsenal continue to be linked with the likes of Karim Benzema, Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria at Real Madrid, along with Juventus forward Fabio Quagliarella, Chelsea playmaker Juan Mata and St Etienne defensive midfielder Joshua Guilavogui.
Wenger maintained the search goes on for new talent.
"When you think that we lost three players of the stature of (Mikel) Arteta, (Alex) Oxlade-Chamberlain and Podolski for three months basically before the season really starts, it's very hard to take.
"We are in a position where you want some more players."
Given Arsenal's injury problems, Flamini could go straight into the squad for the north London derby against Tottenham.
However, Podolski will be out until toward the end of the year, Arsenal have confirmed.
The Germany international, who scored twice in the 3-1 Barclays Premier League win at Fulham last weekend, hobbled off during a 2-0 defeat of Fenerbahce on Tuesday as the Gunners progressed to the Champions League group stage, where they will face Marseille, Borussia Dortmund and Napoli in Group F.
Tests have revealed Podolski is now set for a prolonged spell of rehabilitation. Wenger said: "It is bad news about Lukas Podolski as he will be out for eight to 10 weeks.
"His hamstring is much more damaged than we thought at the start.
"It is very disappointing and we have paid a very heavy price for that win [over Fenerbahce]. We have to be patient now."
Midfielder Aaron Ramsey scored twice against the Turks, but finished the match on the bench with a groin problem after Arsenal had used all three substitutes, while Jack Wilshere's fragile ankle was a cause for concern after he was the victim of some meaty tackles.
However, Wenger suggested both men should be fine for Sunday.
"The news is quite positive. They just had bumps and bruises. They will be involved," he said.
Midfielder Arteta and captain Thomas Vermaelen continue their recovery from respective thigh and back problems.
Wenger added: "Arteta is doing okay, but there are few weeks to go with him. Thomas Vermaelen could be back after the international break."