Arsenal can still have a successful season even if they fail to sign any new players during the current transfer window according to Arsene Wenger.
The Arsenal manager also admitted today that the club have failed in their attempt to land Barcelona and Spain forward David Villa.
The Evening Standard reports preliminary talks were held last week with Barca’s representatives over Villa’s availability, with the Gunners hopeful of luring the 31-year-old to Emirates Stadium.
Villa has started only seven La Liga games this season as he struggles to regain a regular first-team place after missing the majority of last season with a broken leg.
But Barcelona are adamant Villa is not for sale, a stance Wenger confirmed this morning. “The speculation doesn’t go away but Barcelona don’t want to sell David Villa,” he said. “They have made that very, very clear.
“You respect the desire. If I say that somebody is not for transfer I expect the other clubs not to try to buy him.
“In January, it’s very difficult to find players who strengthen your team when you’re in our position.”
Asked if there was any room for negotiation with Barcelona over Villa, Wenger replied: “No.”
Barca president Sandro Rossell insisted earlier this month that he could “completely rule out the transfer of Villa during the winter market” and it appears Wenger will now have to turn to other targets with time running out ahead of Thursday’s 11pm deadline.
Although many Arsenal supporters are desperate to see additions to the squad, Wenger insisted it would not be a major issue were the club not to make any new signings.
“I don’t see it as a problem,” Wenger said. “When you speak about ‘anyone’ coming in, I could go out and buy someone just to give people hope. What is important is that you bring in players who can strengthen your team, or you do nothing and are strong enough to do nothing.
“That is what is important for us, to bring in a player who can strengthen the squad. ‘Anyone’ to me means exactly what the modern game has become. As numbers we have enough. We have plenty of quality strikers.”
David Beckham began training with Arsenal this morning at the club’s London Colney base with the 37-year-old looking for a new club following his departure from Major League Soccer side Los Angeles Galaxy.
Despite revealing Beckham phoned 2008 him personally to request the use of the club’s facilities — as he did briefly in 2010 before a spell at Tottenham’s training base early in 2011 — Wenger claimed there is no chance the former England captain will be offered a contract.
“He has asked to come here and to work on his fitness,” he said. “He has not done anything for a long, long time. He comes here to try and be fit again.
“It is purely for fitness. There’s no speculation about signing or anything. I believe that he’s come here purely on fitness purposes.”
Asked what Arsenal get out of Beckham’s presence, Wenger replied: “Nothing. Questions in a press conference! And to help somebody who I think deserves it.
“We are open for people who behave well when they come here and who made a great service for English football — you always try to help.”
Thomas Vermaelen is fit for the home clash with Liverpool tomorrow night after recovering from an ankle problem. Abou Diaby faces a late fitness test, with Wenger carefully managing his playing time to avoid injury, but Mikel Arteta (calf) and Francis Coquelin (hamstring) are both out of contention.
Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla are poised to return to the starting line-up after dropping to the bench for the FA Cup win at Brighton.
Meanwhile, Arsenal confirmed today they will make a pre-season trip to Indonesia for the first time in 30 years.
They will play the Indonesian national team as part of a two-day visit on July 13-14. More fixtures are in the process of being finalised as the club plan their third successive summer tour to the region, aiming to boost commercial and marketing revenue.