Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Wenger eyeing quality additions

Real Madrid midfielder Mesut Ozil is reportedly a transfer target for Arsenal

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger remains confident of adding quality to his squad ahead of Monday night's transfer deadline - with a £40million bid for Real Madrid midfielder Mesut Ozil reportedly lodged following a 1-0 win over big-spending Tottenham.

Wenger's only purchases so far have been the free transfers of Yaya Sanogo and Mathieu Flamini, the latter making his second Arsenal debut when coming on as a substitute for Jack Wilshere, who was forced off with a stomach problem which is not expected to rule him out of England's World Cup qualifiers.

However, after making unsuccessful bids for Gonzalo Higuain, Luis Suarez and Yohan Cabaye earlier this summer, Wenger believes the 100million euro (£86.3million) switch of Gareth Bale to Madrid could now set in place a "domino" effect which would allow the likes of 24-year-old German international Ozil - who is also on Paris St-Germain's wanted list - to come onto the market at the 11th hour.

Arsenal have also been linked with his Real Madrid team-mates Karim Benzema and Angel di Maria and Palermo goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano.

Following the 1-0 north London derby win over Tottenham, secured by a first-half goal from France striker Olivier Giroud, Wenger again addressed the issue of getting in extra bodies - a problem highlighted by the inclusion of youngsters Serge Gnabry and Gedion Zelalem, only 16, on the bench.

Spurs, meanwhile, had £26million man Erik Lamela among their substitutes following his transfer from Roma.

''Tottenham got a lot of money for Bale, they have to invest it - I understand that," Wenger said. "The need is different for us, we need one or two super players and we will try to add that.

''It is a little bit like a domino game. Maybe something will happen in the last 24 hours, maybe not. It is very difficult to predict, but maybe we can surprise you."

Arsenal may be sitting on a £70million war chest, but Wenger insists the club will not be held to ransom as the last-gasp shopping dash begins.

''I am not against spending. I am ready to pay what we can afford, even if it is a bit over the market (value) and as long as it is not crazy,'' he said.

There was brief cause for concern for England boss Roy Hodgson ahead of the World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine, as Wilshere signalled to the bench he could not continue just before half-time.

However, Wenger moved to allay any fears.

''He has a stomach bug, but nothing that will stop him from playing for England,'' said the Arsenal boss, who had to put full-back Bacary Sagna on the bench because of a similar issue.

Arsenal have responded well since they lost the opening Premier League game at home to Aston Villa, winning at Fulham and also securing a place in the group stages of the Champions League by beating Fenerbahce both at home and away.

''This team has lost one game since March in all competitions. You don't do that with an average spirit," Wenger said.

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