Wenger con­tent to be ‘quiet’ on trans­fers

Mour­inho says he re­fused a ‘big of­fer’ to go to China

The National - News - Sport - - LEADING OFF -

Arsene Wenger says Arse­nal’s squad strength means he has no need to make any last-ditch sign­ings in the Jan­uary trans­fer win­dow.

Arse­nal, who thrashed topflight ri­vals Southamp­ton 5-0 in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Satur­day, are sec­ond in the Pre­mier League.

A sign of their strength in depth was French man­ager Wenger, in charge of Arse­nal since Septem­ber 1996, was able to make sev­eral changes to his start­ing line-up against Southamp­ton.

Theo Wal­cott scored a hat-trick against his for­mer club, with Danny Welbeck adding the other two goals as Wenger rested the likes of Petr Cech, Lau­rent Ko­scielny, Me­sut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.

Those four play­ers are all set to re­turn for tonight’s league match against Wat­ford, where Arse­nal will look to close an eight-point gap to lead­ers Chelsea.

Wenger, who will be serv­ing the sec­ond of a four-match touch­line ban against Wat­ford at the Emi­rates, told Arse­nal fans not to ex­pect any new ar­rivals be­tween now and tonight’s trans­fer dead­line.

“It’s not only to buy play­ers, you have to have a need in your squad first of all,” Wenger said. “I be­lieve that num­ber-wise and qual­ity-wise, we have what is re­quired to do well.

“Now it’s down to us to per­form and to pro­duce with the qual­ity of our fo­cus, the qual­ity of our am­bi­tion and de­sire to pro­duce the per­for­mance in ev­ery sin­gle game.”

The only player Arse­nal have brought in dur­ing the trans­fer win­dow is de­fender Co­hen Bra­mall, 20, who joined from non-league Hed­nes­ford Town for £40,000 (Dh183,838).

Wenger fore­casts there would be few moves else­where be­fore the trans­fer win­dow shut.

“[It will be] very quiet. On our front, we have a big squad,” he said. “We are not in need of buy­ing. On a gen­eral front it has been very quiet.

“That shows that there are not many play­ers avail­able who can strengthen English teams.

“It also shows that all the teams in Eng­land, es­pe­cially the big teams, have big squads.” Mean­while, Jose Mour­inho turned down a “big of­fer” to go to China, the Manch­ester United man­ager dis­closed in an in­ter­view pub­lished yes­ter­day.

Mour­inho, 54, did not re­veal which club made the pro­posal but said he would not crit­i­cise any­one who made a highly lu­cra­tive move to the de­vel­op­ing Chi­nese Su­per League. Last week saw Mour­inho cast doubt over the future of Wayne Rooney, who re­cently be­came United’s all-time lead­ing goalscorer, by say­ing “the money is huge” in China, amid re­ports of Asian in­ter­est.

“I have al­ready re­fused a big of­fer to go to China, but I don’t crit­i­cise any­one who de­cides to do it,” Mour­inho told the monthly GQ men’s magazine.

“It’s their choice, their life. Only they can de­cide what they need for their future. Other man­agers have been crit­i­cal, but I am no critic.”

Mour­inho did ad­mit to be­ing “wor­ried” by the prospect of los­ing play­ers to China.

“Maybe the player takes £5m be­cause he prefers foot­ball.

“Or £25m be­cause he prefers money.

Paul Hack­ett / Reuters

Arse­nal man­ager Arsene Wenger had to watch the FA Cup game against Southamp­ton from the stands.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.