Wenger content to be ‘quiet’ on transfers
Mourinho says he refused a ‘big offer’ to go to China
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.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had to watch the FA Cup game against Southampton from the stands.