Wenger admits Arsenal must buy a striker next month

Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, accepts the loss of striker Robin van Persie means he will have to buy when the transfer window opens next month, but only at the right price.

Arsenal will be without their main creative attacking threat until at least April after the Netherlands 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 Under-21 international Mario Balotelli is another reported target. However, whichever player he 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 next month, 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," he 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."

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