Wenger vows to sign only players of ‘super, super class’

ARSENE WENGER admits he would have a dilemma over just where a big-name signing would fit into his current Arsenal side.

The past few weeks have been poor for the Gunners, whose hopes of silverware were ended with defeat in the Carling Cup final swiftly followed by exits from the FA Cup and Champions League.

While the battle to secure third place in the Barclays Premiership remains a realistic goal, there can be no doubt about the disappointment another barren season brings.

Wenger has, though, maintained he will only add only “super, super class” to his playing staff this summer should anyone be on the market and willing to come to the Emirates Stadium at the right price.

The futures of both Julio Baptista and Jose Antonio Reyes, on loan at Real Madrid, have to be sorted out one way or another – along with that of veteran goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, who is out of contract.

Several players such as striker Nicklas Bendtner, midfielder Alexander Song, Fabrice Muamba and full-back Kerrea Gilbert are all gaining first-team experience elsewhere, but are likely to return next season.

All this leaves Wenger with something of a conundrum should he decide to make a bold move in the transfer market this summer.

“Where would I put him? You are right,” said the Arsenal manager.

“It would be detrimental to the development of some of the younger players who have come into the side and done well.

“We never had everybody fit and available at the same time this season — William Gallas, Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie.

“But the advantage we got from this year is that some young players had to play and they developed well.”

Bendtner, 18, has proved a big hit for Birmingham, where he has chalked up 11 goals for the Coca-Cola Championship leaders.

Wenger expects the young Danish striker to feature regularly in his squad when the new campaign begins in August.

“He will come back and challenge for a first team place next season, I have spoken to him about that,” said the Arsenal boss.

Wenger added: “There is a lot of competition, a lot of good young players — but if they are good enough then they will come through.”

England Under-21 forward Theo Walcott turned 18 yesterday, but is unlikely to be involved again this season as he is set for surgery on a troublesome shoulder problem.

Wenger confirmed: “Theo Walcott has his surgery on Tuesday.

“I will consider him if I need him, but once you know he is having surgery it is obvious.

“We need to do it now because if we do not do it now then next season is under threat already.”

Arsenal head to Everton on Sunday looking to maintain their advantage over Liverpool in the race for third spot.

Wenger said: “It will be another big test for us.

“We have a block of three away games and our season can be decided by that.”

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