Arsenal manager says he wants to buy a defender but he is yet to find anyone on whom to spend a fund of up to £20 million

Arsène Wenger has admitted that it would be “too risky” if Arsenal fail to sign a defender before the January transfer window closes.

However, the the gunners manager conceded that despite making a number of enquiries he has not yet “found anyone” on whom to spend a fund of up to £20  million.

“I am not the only one working on the case,” Wenger said. “It’s not a supermarket where you go in and buy a defender, it’s a market that is very restricted, that players who can strengthen the best 10 teams in Europe, you don’t find many and it’s the same for everybody. We are a big attraction, of course we are, but if it was easy we would do it.”

Asked whether his squad – depleted through injury, with Mathieu Debuchy out for up to three months with a dislocated shoulder – could cope without a new signing, Wenger said: “We can, because we have Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny. But we have now lost Debuchy, who could play centre-back, Monreal, who can play centre-back, Gibbs as well has been out, of course if we have another injury or two we will struggle. It’s risky. It’s too risky. Of course we have made enquiries and then you have a second handicap of who wants to sell their best players, especially a central defender, in the middle of the season.

“They say: ‘OK, come back in June or July and maybe yes.’ ”

Arsenal are considering a move for Celtic’s Virgil van Dijk, who would cost around £8 million, and have been strongly linked with Winston Reid, who is out of contract in the summer, although his present club West Ham United have yet to receive an enquiry.

There has also been doubt cast on the future of goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny after he was dropped – following a calamitous display and then being fined for smoking against Southampton – although the Pole still believes he will return as first-choice in place of David Ospina.

Wenger said that he needed to give Szczesny “a little breather”. “It helps you to refocus and get yourself together,” he said. “Just before Southampton he had a very good game at West Ham and was man of the match. I think he is a great goalkeeper and will have a great career but he goes a little bit. I took Jens Lehmann out [of the team] like that.”



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