Aresene Wenger has refused to rule out an audacious January move for Manchester City striker Craig Bellamy.
On the day that long-term target Marouane Chamakh of Bordeaux said he would not be moving to the Emirates, the Arsenal manager admitted he would like to bring in Bellamy, but he fears he will not succeed.
Wenger desperately needs to strengthen his forward options after losing Robin Van Persie for the rest of the season to an ankle injury. Bellamy, 30, was outstanding for City in their 3-0 victory over Wolves on Monday night, but after initial allegiances to Mark Hughes, the Welshman has recommitted himself to the club and Roberto Mancini.
When questioned about the rumours linking him with a move for Bellamy, Wenger refused to dismiss them out of hand. “I like the player but I've not done anything on that one,” he said. Asked if he is going to make a bid, he replied: “I don't know. I don't think we can buy players from Manchester City.”
For his part, Bellamy has spoken of how much he looks up to Arsenal striker Andrey Arshavin, describing the Russia international as “phenomenal”.
Chamakh, meanwhile, insisted he will stay with the French Ligue 1 champions until the end of the season. I don't want to see my name circulating during the transfer window. I've had enough of reading or hearing rumours that they are lacking a centre-forward somewhere.”
Sunday's 3-0 victory over Aston Villa put Wenger's young team back in touch with the pacesetters, but their reliance on skipper Cesc Fabregas, who scored twice in a 27-minute appearance before being substituted with a recurrence of a hamstring injury, demonstrated the need for Wenger to recruit a striker in the January window.
Win tonight, and next week's game in hand against Bolton and Wenger's side will be just one point behind their London rivals. It is quite a remarkable turnaround from a month ago, when Chelsea won 3-0 at The Emirates to open up an 11-point gap. At the time Wenger was criticised for being a sore loser, when he said of Chelsea: “This team, for me, can still drop points. I'm convinced of that.”
The events of the past month have proved Wenger right.