Thursday 18 January 2018

Wenger admits he will sign a defender after Mertesacker blow

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker will be out for
Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker will be out for "a few months" with a knee injury, manager Arsene Wenger has announced. Photo: PA
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Arsenal manager Wenger has confirmed that defender Per Mertesacker will be out for “a few months” with a knee injury and has vowed to sign a central defender in this transfer window.

Speculation that the German international may not play against in 2016 after picking up a knee injury and that has now been confirmed by Wenger, who is already facing up to an all-too familiar defensive crisis heading into the new Premier League season.

With Laurent Koscielny not expected to return to full training until a week before the start of the Premier League season after being handed an extended break following France’s run to the Euro 2016 final, the relatively untested Calum Chambers is one of the only viable centre-back option Wenger can call upon for his side’s game against an All-Star MLS team in San Jose.

Wenger has confirmed that he will look to sign a defender in this transfer window, but he has warned the club’s fans to be patient as he aims to find a solution to his defensive woes.

"We look still for an offensive position and defensive position," stated Wenger. "We are very active on the transfer market but it's a long time to go. Everybody has a handbrake on at the moment. It's a little bit of a poker game until mid-August in my opinion. So we might have to be good at poker."

New signing Rob Holding is likely to get a first team chance with Wenger’s side in the States after completing his move from Bolton, with pressure mounting on the Arsenal boss to solve his side’s problems by making some moves in the transfer market.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Meanwhile, Arsenal are expected to return with an improved offer for Lyon striker, Alexandre Lacazette, after Arsenal’s curiously modest offer of €35m to sign the French striker was hastily rejected by the French club.

Lyon are already believed to have turned down a bid of €40m for Lacazette earlier this summer from West Ham, so it is slightly confusing how Wenger believed he could sign the 25-year-old striker for a smaller fee.

The offer inspired Lyon to release a somewhat embarrassing rebuttal to Wenger’s offer for the Lacazette, as they revealed the price Arsenal had offered for the forward.”

“Arsenal made an offer of €35m which Lyon didn’t accept for one reason alone – we will keep Alexandre Lacazette,” read their statement.

“Lacazette is one of the main leaders of Bruno Genesio’s squad. We categorically deny having received an offer of €48m [£40.2m] from Arsenal for him, as has been reported.”

Wenger responded to the comments from Lyon with a feisty comment of his own as he stated: “Lyon are responsible for their own statements, we like to keep our transfer business secret.”

Lyon are believed to want in excess of €50m for Lacazette and are in no rush to sell, as they look to maximise any possible sale in what is a hugely over-inflated summer transfer market.

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