Wenger: Arsenal will recruit in January
Arsene Wenger has said it is 'certain' that Arsenal will sign a player this January, as he attempted to allay fan fears about the club's inactivity in the transfer market.
The Gunners have been linked with a number of players - most notably, Mohamed Diame, Lucas Biglia and Etienne Capoeu - but, despite a failure to find consistency in the Premier League, have been oddly reticent so far.
Wenger, however, put that down to the contract negotiations with Theo Walcott - which look set to be finalised this week - as well as the availability of players that would actually improve the team. The manager also maintained that the standard of his squad is "very good".
"We are working very hard," Wenger said. "First of all we want to sort out the injuries we have, and we are trying very hard to close the deal with Walcott. Once we have done that, we will certainly do something else. At the moment I cannot tell you more.
"It has become more difficult for one simple reason: we have a good squad. I know we swim against the stream a bit because people don't believe that. I say we have a very good squad. We have some improvements to make and we know exactly where.
"In January it is difficult to find the players that are really better and can give something special to the squad. The number is right. We have a good balance. We are working very hard to find what we want."
Meanwhile, Wenger has admitted that the "tension" around the Arsenal side to prove themselves is affecting results in big games.
The Emirates side rallied well late on despite going down to 10-men against Manchester City in the opening minutes on Sunday, but never really looked dangerous in the 2-0 defeat. It has become a recurring theme that Wenger puts down to "nervousness".
"I feel in games like against Manchester City, this team wants to do so much that we start nervous," he said. "We have to deal with that kind of pressure well. I've always been 100 per cent appreciative of the attitude of this group of players. Their qualities are absolutely outstanding.
"I've said so many times that I want them to be rewarded. We have to deal with that pressure a little bit better and not transform that desire into tension. The top level is a good mixture and a good balance between desire and freedom. The tension can transform you a little bit. I felt that's what happened against City."
Wenger did insist, though, that the support at the Emirates can help his team. Throughout this season, there has been a notable anxiety to the crowd that has occasionally transmitted to the team. The Arsenal manager said a more "positive input" can help.
"I want us to please the fans, not the other way round. But the fans can have a positive input and help the team on that front," Wenger said. "The fans were good. They were with us until the end. I'm still convinced that we would not have lost that game if it was 11 against 11. It was like that and you cannot fault the fans. We want to transform our desire into a positive attitude and that's what is at stake."
Wenger ultimately put the City defeat down to naive defensive errors which the team must eradicate.
"I think we started a bit on the back foot. When we were down to 10 men, I'm not really very happy with the way we defended for the first or second goals," he said. "We got away with the penalty because they didn’t score after the mistake of [Laurent] Koscielny. After that, I felt we didn't defend well at all on the first or second goal.
"We had a very positive second half. We restricted them to very little. We had a positive attitude and we had two good chances. Giroud had a good chance with a header and Walcott had a good chance in injury time. If we had taken 100 per cent of our chances, we could have come back.
"But at the moment, the squad has not been rewarded because we were too naïve defensively. I cannot fault the team for effort. In big games it's important that you are consequent defensively. We were not."