Arsene Wenger has urged Arsenal fans to focus on getting behind the current players and not why the club failed to sign a replacement for injured forward Danny Welbeck before the transfer window shut.
England forward Welbeck is expected to be out until at least Christmas after he underwent surgery on a knee problem which caused him to miss the end of last season and the FA Cup final victory over Aston Villa.
With the decision to operate having come ahead of the September 1 deadline, there would have still been time for Arsenal to move in the transfer window to bolster the attacking options. Both Karim Benzema at Real Madrid and Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani from Paris St Germain were reported targets.
Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson said to have only added veteran goalkeeper Petr Cech, who arrived earlier in the summer from Chelsea, “cheats the fans”.
Wenger hit back when speaking ahead of Saturday’s Barclays Premier League match against Stoke, insisting he had not lied about the situation when addressing the issue at the time.
The Gunners boss remains confident there is enough attacking talent within the squad to cope.
“To support the club and support them team is to stand behind the players – it is not always expecting someone coming down from heaven to sort out all your problems. Support is believing in the players in the squad and this is a good opportunity to do that for our supporters,” he said.
Wenger continued: “I am confident I have enough cover and enough quality.
“We have Alexis (Sanchez), we have (Olivier) Giroud, we have (Theo) Walcott and it is always a similar problem – when you have many strikers people say how do you keep them all happy? It is about the efficiency and quality of our game, we can score goals I am not worried about that.”
Wenger rebuffed suggestions he should have just raided the Emirates Stadium bank vault regardless, given Arsenal were the only side in Europe’s top five leagues not to bring in an outfield player this summer.
“You have to be convinced that it is not just to please people, that it is an efficient solution, and the efficient solution didn’t turn up. As well you have to be brave enough to say no,” Wenger added.
“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.”
The Arsenal manager insisted there was nothing untoward surrounding Welbeck’s surgery and the timing of the announcement coming after the closure of the window.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Midfielder Jack Wilshere will not return as expected from a hairline fracture in his fibula following the international break as planned after what Wenger described as a “little setback”, but German defender Per Mertesacker could be in contention again following illness.
Arsenal, meanwhile, are to donate £1 for every ticket sold against Stoke to help the Syrian refugee crisis.