Wenger: we’ll have to buy in January

ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger accepts the loss of striker Robin van Persie means he will have to buy when the transfer window opens in January – but only at the right price.

The Gunners will be without their main creative attacking threat until at least April after the Holland forward suffered ankle ligament damage while on international duty which turned out to be worse than first thought.

The absence of van Persie – who had scored eight goals and created many more – was painfully clear as Arsenal failed to stretch the Chelsea defence in the 3-0 home defeat on Sunday.

Wenger may well now step up his interest in Bordeaux striker Marouane Chamakh next month, while Italian U21 international Mario Balotelli is another reported target – and former Gunner Ian Wright has called on his old club to bring Ruud van Nistelrooy back to England.

However, whichever player the Gunners boss eventually decides to move for, it will have to be on the right terms.

Asked if van Persie’s absence would now influence his thoughts for January, the Arsenal manager replied: “It has to. I did not feel we were in need to buy anybody but we will be out on the market that is for sure – however, we will only make a decision if it suits us.”

Arsenal should have forward Nicklas Bendtner back following groin surgery later this month.

The Denmark striker did not pick up his injury while away with the national team but the manner in which players can be treated while playing for their countries leaves Wenger frustrated.

“We will not accept that situation to go on like that,” Wenger said.

“A player like (Abou) Diaby goes away and is injured and you cannot even get him back because they (France) decided to keep him.

“They knew from the first day on that he would never play for them but they didn’t want to call another player up. So they decided to keep him and make everybody think he would play.

“The result? He comes back; the next day tries to have a little run and gets a setback and we have to deal with the consequences. It is disrespectful to the clubs, and it is not acceptable for the clubs. We pay the wages.

“For political reasons they keep the players in the squad and we have not a say, how can that work? Three days later you have to play a game and you have to win it. They don’t care.

“Something has to change in there.”

Wenger, meanwhile, will stick to his policy of giving youth a chance for tonight’s Carling Cup quarter-final at Manchester City.

“Let’s keep the faith in our young players who keep waiting for this game and I want give them a chance to play,” he said.

“I believe any result should not influence too much your policy.’’

Meanwhile Mark Hughes has backed Kolo Toure’s leadership qualities to shine through tonight and help end 28 years of quarter-final frustration for Manchester City. Although the build-up to tonight’s clash with Arsenal has been centred around Emmanuel Adebayor’s rematch with his old club given the controversy that surrounded him when the two sides met in September, it is an equally important game for Toure.

Hughes, who revealed Toure has been trying to ignore the pain of a back complaint to maintain his presence at the heart of City’s defence, admits the defender is not performing at his optimum.

But he still believes Toure is a positive influence and proving to be the leader he always wanted.

“Kolo is struggling with a little bit of form,” said Hughes. “He has had injury problems and at times has played when he was not quite right.

“But because he is the captain and wants to lead from the front he has put his hand up and said he wants to play.

“You can’t criticise him for that but you can compromise yourself if you play when you are not physically up to the right level.

“There has been an element of that for Kolo but in terms he’s been fine.”


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