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Saturday 18 August 2018

Wenger wanted more from Arsenal’s busy January

The Gunners boss feels the club missed out on strengthening their defence during the transfer window.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on the touchline
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on the touchline

By Mark Mann-Bryans

Arsene Wenger has admitted he did not get everything he wanted in the transfer window and said Arsenal’s defensive options are too limited.

The Gunners broke their transfer record for the second time in six months to recruit forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan also arrived from Manchester United in a swap deal with Alexis Sanchez while Mesut Ozil signed a new three-year deal with the club.

In what proved to be a busy January for Arsenal, they sold Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud, Francis Coquelin and Mathieu Debuchy as well as sending out a number of young players on loan.

Despite all of that business, Wenger was not completely satisfied as he failed to add to his defensive ranks after a late move for West Brom’s Jonny Evans failed to materialise.

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West Brom defender Jonny Evans was a Janury target for Arsenal.

“Everything? No,” he replied when asked if he had got everything he wanted in the transfer window.

“What I wanted to do, we have done. I couldn’t do everything. I wanted to do more.

“I believe we have to find an internal solution to our defensive problems, and that means everyone putting more effort in. But overall I am happy with the way things went in the transfer market.”

No side in the top eight of the Premier League has conceded more goals than Arsenal, their defensive frailties again clear for all to see as they lost 3-1 at relegation candidates Swansea on Tuesday night.

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Swansea City v Arsenal – Premier League – Liberty Stadium

Everton are the visitors to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday and, as their boss Sam Allardyce described Arsenal as “defensively weak” Wenger admits they are lacking options at the back.

Asked if he regretted not signing a defender, the Frenchman conceded: “Yes, because our defensive numbers are not good enough.

“That’s where we needed some possible strengthening as well. We have to improve our defensive numbers. We want to go in the top four. We have to improve our offensive numbers and defensive numbers.”

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Aubameyang joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund but illness could see his debut delayed.

Wenger confirmed Aubameyang may have to wait for his Arsenal debut as illness could rule him out of the Everton game, where Mkhitaryan will make his first start for the club.

Aubameyang’s signing broke Arsenal’s transfer record which was previously set by Alexandre Lacazette, another forward recruited in the summer.

Lacazette has struggled for form of late, scoring just once since December 2, and Wenger offered no assurances that his position would not come under threat from Aubameyang’s arrival.

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Lacazette's only goal since December 2 came in the recent win over Crystal Palace.

“I don’t reassure people because I think we are in a competitive world,” he said.

“We have all chosen a job that is about competition and you have to fight for your place.

“You have to show them respect, and that you rate the players but as well they have to accept that we live in a competitive world.”

Ozil’s new contract is reportedly worth £350,000-a-week, shattering Arsenal’s previous highest deal, and Wenger has called on the Germany international to back up his contract by taking a leadership role on the pitch.

“He has committed his future to the club in a period where we are in a tricky position on that front, in qualifying for the Champions League,” he said.

“You expect that he becomes the leader and takes the responsibility to lead the team to success.”

Despite the buzz around the new recruits, being eight points behind the top four has led to some Arsenal supporters organising a pre-match protest ahead of the Everton clash as they call on both Wenger and majority shareholder Stan Kroenke to leave.

Press Association

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