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Wenger is ready to break bank

GUNNERS boss Arsene Wenger is ready to change the habit of a decade and crack open the Emirates bank vault in a search for a New Year striker.

While Alex Ferguson and Rafa Benitez scratch around for options and the cash to pay for new recruits, Wenger is sitting pretty. Arsenal can close to within a point of Chelsea if they beat Bolton tonight and he has money to spend.

Central to Wenger's talent hunt will be the absolute necessity that he invests in at least one new striker caused by ongoing injury problems and particularly a delay in Nicklas Bendtner's return.

Bendtner will be examined on Friday, with Wenger's transfer plans dependent on the result.

"There is no way we can carry on with only one striker. The real test will be in the next two weeks with the projection on Bendtner," said Wenger.

"If he is out for two months, there is no way we can cope. We will need someone, absolutely. We look anyway and if we find a good bargain, we will still do it."

Speculation suggests that Wenger is tracking West Ham striker Carlton Cole ,but it is questionable whether he wants to invest in a player who hasn't been in action since November and, at an asking price of £10m, can hardly be described as a bargain.

Wenger has been uplifted in recent weeks by the Gunners' form and almost as important, the inconsistent showing of all his title rivals over the holiday period.

"One month ago, we were far from the top but we have created momentum and we have got to keep it going," said Wenger.

"It is a good opportunity to come back close to Chelsea and we want to take it, to make it more interesting for everybody."

"I believe we can cope, especially with the players coming back from injuries. Let us be consistent, and then we'll see. We're on a good run. Let us test the resistance of other teams by producing good performances."

"The race starts after Christmas. I don't think nerves play a big part in December but they play a big part in March and April," he added,

Tonight's opposition Bolton are putting the final touches to a compensation package for Burnley after Owen Coyle agreed to switch clubs.

According to a statement from Burnley, Coyle has confirmed his interest in taking over at Bolton and that both clubs would "now enter discussions due to the fact that compensation between the two parties has yet to be agreed".