Wenger's recruitment may continue

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger remains hopeful of bringing in a couple more fresh faces before the new campaign kicks off.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger remains hopeful of bringing in a couple more fresh faces before the new campaign kicks off.

The Gunners continued their pre-season schedule with the Emirates Cup this afternoon, where they beat Paris St Germain 2-1 with goals from Mathieu Flamini and Nicklas Bendtner.

Following the departure of talismanic captain Thierry Henry to Barcelona and veteran midfielder Freddie Ljungberg to West Ham, there have been suggestions Wenger’s squad is light on experience.

Arsenal have been linked with a move for Chelsea’s Lassana Diarra, while the future of winger Jose Antonio Reyes has to be sorted out, with Real Madrid understood to be close to a deal for the player they had on loan last season.

Although Wenger refused to be drawn on specifics when quizzed by reporters this afternoon, the Arsenal manager maintained he was still active in the transfer market.

“We have the potential to do it,” he said of the Gunners’ chances of recruiting further.

“If I find the right player, I will take him. If I find two, I will do it.

“But it is not compulsory. If we do not get them, we do not get them. We have enough quality.

“That will not be an excuse if I do not get a player, not to compete.”

Wenger, though, maintains he is not about to move for ex-Gunner Nicolas Anelka, who is known to be keen on a return to the club at which he made his name should the chance arise.

Anelka – now 28 and with Bolton – enjoyed a successful spell with Arsenal and helped fire them to the Premier League and FA Cup double in 1998 before joining Real Madrid for £22million a year later.

Wenger has no doubts about the qualities of the French striker, but feels he has enough other attacking options within the squad.

“At the moment I have not made any offer for Anelka,” the Arsenal manager said.

“I felt we had the strikers we needed, and also I wanted a player like Eduardo, who can play on the flanks and with (Emmanuel) Adebayor, or with (Robin) van Persie.

“That is why we have gone for Eduardo, and it was more a question of choice rather than the quality of Anelka, because I rate him very highly.

“It was just we have others who play in the same position.”

Wenger added: “I can bring in who I want and the board do not interfere in that, unless there is a compulsory financial situation that we cannot afford.”

Wenger’s major summer signing was striker Eduardo.

The Brazilian-born Croatia international will not feature this weekend, however, as the club are still awaiting a work permit from the Home Office after an initial application was refused.

Wenger is “confident” ahead of the appeal on August 2, and revealed the striker would most likely play in the Amsterdam Tournament next weekend, as that is not governed by United Kingdom rules.

“We sign our contracts subject to work permits, so we have not been negligent,” insisted Wenger.

“If the work permit does not happen, we are not in a position where we are obliged to keep the player.”

Wenger will now prepare his side to face Inter Milan tomorrow.

The Arsenal boss was impressed how the squad – missing the likes of Togo striker Adebayor, Tomas Rosicky, Theo Walcott and Gilberto – adapted against a side who begin their domestic season next weekend.

“We had many players out today, and I also left some on the bench,” said Wenger.

“Overall, against a very good Paris team, it was a good, hardworking performance.

“We took control in the second half and won the game normally.”

Wenger added: “You can learn the different associations you can make in your team, risk things you cannot do in normal championship games.

“You can also discover how close the young players are to competing at the top level, and also see where you stand physically.”

PSG coach Paul Le Guen, meanwhile, feels Arsenal can compete for top honours next season.

The former Rangers boss said: “I think they will be in a position to play for one of the top places.

“When they are complete and have players like Adebayor up front, they will be very strong.

“Their young players, like [Cesc] Fabregas will also have one more year experience.

“I think Arsenal will be very hard to play and can challenge Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool.”

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