Wenger admits Bendtner's injury may force hand in transfer window

Injuries have forced Wenger to admit the need to buy an influential striker. It is a tall order but the Arsenal manager's instincts are worth trusting

As Arsène Wenger is fond of saying when he addresses the scepticism at his lack of signings in the transfer market, he has the money to buy a player and he has the willingness to do so, what he lacks is the individual that he feels is good enough to fit into his Arsenal team.

That was until yesterday when Wenger admitted for the first time that the circumstances have changed. Nicklas Bendtner could be out injured for a further two months if he requires another groin operation, which means that Arsenal will be without him and Robin van Persie for the decisive part of the season, in which case even Wenger admitted he would have to act.

Bendtner will be tested again on Friday and if the news is bad – and the Denmark international is out for two months – then Wenger said that he would have to buy a striker this month. "If he is out for two months, there is no way," he said yesterday, "we will need someone, absolutely."

It places Wenger in a curious position and one he has resisted since the summer – being forced into the transfer market against his will. Neither the sale of Emmanuel Adebayor in the close season, nor the injury to Van Persie that rules him out for virtually the entire season have convinced him that he should buy in a market he says does not have the value for money he usually looks for.

If the league title race really does start in earnest tonight against Bolton Wanderers, as Wenger claimed that it will yesterday, then much will depend on whether the Arsenal manager can find a striker to carry some of the goalscoring burden until the end of the season. In other words, if Bendtner is out and Wenger says that Arsenal's need is serious, then it really must be serious.

Having scored more goals than any other team in the division this season, it has been hard to argue recently with Wenger's assertion that he does not need to buy a striker when the goals are coming from all over his team. In fact, only Tottenham Hotspur have had more individual goalscorers than Arsenal this season. Yet the striker situation must be on Wenger's mind because he keeps bringing up the subject himself.

After the win at Portsmouth, he said: "Everybody wants me to buy strikers but nobody has scored more goals than us." He had a point but his admission yesterday suggested that trying to win the league without a recognised striker would undermine, rather than strengthen, the young players in whom he has shown so much faith. No one is questioning Wenger's judgement – he has proved us all wrong far too many times for that. In the past he regarded the signing of a high-profile player as potentially blocking the path of one of his young protégées. Nothing wrong in that. But signing a centre-forward this January will not block anyone's path, because if Bendtner does not recover this week the club will not have a centre-forward.

In recent weeks Eduardo da Silva has shown that, despite a decent run of goals, he is not up to the task of playing in the central position in the forward line of Wenger's 4-3-3 system. Andrei Arshavin scored twice against Liverpool at Anfield in that position but no one seriously thinks that he is a long-term solution.

There are players available this month, and it will be curious to see who Wenger settles for if he finds himself without Bendtner. He was never prepared to go beyond his valuation of Marouane Chamakh in the summer and the likes of Edin Dzeko will probably be priced much higher than Wenger is prepared to pay. Young English players such as Gabriel Agbonlahor, who fit Arsenal's prototype, will be virtually impossible to sign.

Wenger does not do attritional, nasty signings when a player is bought against the wishes of his club. He also does not pay extortionate fees. So presumably he has someone cheap and talented in mind who can be signed within the next month. It is a tall order given how little interest Wenger has shown in the transfer market so far but if there was one person you would trust to come up with the right name, it would be him.

All-round effort: Arsenal's goalscorers

* Only 17 of Arsenal's 51 league goals this season have been scored by their strikers – 15 players have scored.

* The midfield have contributed 24 of the goals, captain Cesc Fabregas hitting nine, Abou Diaby five, Aaron Ramsey three and Denilson two, while Theo Walcott, Samir Nasri, Tomas Rosicky, Alexandre Song and Emmanuel Eboué have a goal each.

* Central defenders William Gallas and Thomas Vermaelen have weighed in with seven goals between them. The other three goals scored have been own goals.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Johnny Depp no longer cares if people criticise his movie flops
films
Arts and Entertainment
All in a day's work: the players in the forthcoming 'Posh People: Inside Tatler'
TVGrace Dent thinks we should learn to 'hug a Hooray Henry', because poshness is an accident of birth
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
art

Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax

Arts and Entertainment
Convicted art fraudster John Myatt
art

News
The two-year-old said she cut off her fringe because it was getting in her eyes
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game