at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
London – Arsene Wenger has warned Arsenal fans not to expect a major overhaul of the club's squad at the end of the season because he is only willing to sign top players.
Sections of Arsenal's support have been frustrated at Wenger's failure to land the players needed to end the Gunners' seven-year trophy drought and they continue to call on him to splash out on new signings.
But Wenger – who on Friday denied reports that Germany striker Lukas Podolski has undergone a medical with a view to joining Arsenal – prefers to sign what he believes to be the very best talent, which inevitably limits the amount of transfer targets he has.
“Quantity-wise, we will not do a lot. Quality-wise, certainly, and we will take a gamble if we find top, top quality of course,” Wenger said on Friday.
“The number of the squad is 25. We have many players out on loan and we have not had Jack Wilshere or Abou Diaby for the whole season (due to injury).
“These players will be back and that means number- and quality-wise we are strong, because we are now in the position we are in without these players.”
Wenger shed little light on the timing of Podolski's expected arrival from Cologne, adding: “Nothing is done. It could happen soon, it could happen later. I don't know.”
For now, Wenger will focus solely on ensuring Arsenal finish above Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea in third place in the Premier League, a position that guarantees automatic qualification for the Champions League group stage.
Wenger's side leapfrogged Tottenham into third place with their 1-0 victory over Everton on Wednesday, but the Frenchman believes the battle for Champions League football is intensifying.
“Third is better than fourth, but if you have no choice, you take fourth and the opportunity. Let's see how it goes now,” he said.
“I believe Newcastle are still in the fight, as are Tottenham and Chelsea. Liverpool are maybe too far off, but you never know.” – Sapa-AFP