LONDON: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has defended his decision not to bring in reinforcements in attack and hit back at suggestions he lied about the fitness of Danny Welbeck.
The 24-year-old England striker is expected to be out for several months after he underwent surgery on a knee problem which caused him to miss the end of last season.
Despite that, Wenger did not move to sign a replacement before the transfer window closed on September 1, with Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech the only new face to arrive at the Emirates Stadium in the summer.
Petr Cech is the only signing Arsenal secured in the recently closed summer transfer window. — AFP
But, speaking ahead of Saturday’s game at home to Stoke City, Wenger said: “You either find someone who strengthens your squad or not. Whether we have players injured or not doesn’t change the problem, that’s what I don’t understand from the media.”
“First of all I am surprised that people accused me of lying when I was in the press conference on Friday morning, I did not know Welbeck had a bad setback. I did not lie to you, I gave you the information I had,” the Gunners’ boss added.
“I heard late on Friday night that his condition had not evolved as well as we thought it was and he had needed specialist and needed further investigation. Apart from that, if we did not find someone (to sign), we did not find them,” said the 65 year old Frenchman.
“I have made more than 300 transfers and every time it’s a decision to make. Do you buy the player because he strengthens his squad or not? The solutions we had were not convincing at all. In the end you do not buy to give one hope, you want to buy because the players who come in can help your squad to be stronger. Buying and selling is one way to strengthen your team, but that’s not the only way,” he emphasized.
Wenger also revealed midfielder Jack Wilshere would not return as expected from a hairline fracture in his fibula following the international break as planned.