Wenger admits need to bolster his back line

The Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has confirmed he intends to sign a defender this summer after he admitted his side's performances at the back this season have been "average".

The Gunners rounded off their Premier League campaign with a 4-0 win over Fulham on Sunday to beat Tottenham into third place. Failure in both domestic cup competitions and a Champions League exit to Barcelona this year means Arsenal have now gone five seasons without winning a trophy.

Wenger has highlighted his side's defensive frailties as the reason why Arsenal have come up short again this year after they conceded 41 goals in the league.

Centre-half Thomas Vermaelen has been a revelation since his move from Ajax last year but lapses have cost the team dearly as their title push faded towards the end of the campaign.

Wenger now hopes to rectify that by adding a defender to his ranks with Fulham's Brede Hangeland and Senegal defender Pape Diakhate thought to be on the Frenchman's radar.

"If you divide the season into two, going forward we have done very well but defensively we have been average," said Wenger, who could also lose William Gallas on a free transfer this summer.

"When you concede 40 goals you don't win the championship and I want to rectify that. My transfer policy this summer will be to keep our strengths going forward, add one player, and add more defensive strength to our team."

Arsenal's hopes of a first title in six years looked to be over when they lost 3-0 at home to Chelsea in November but they recovered to claim top spot the following month.

Poor form towards the end of the campaign, including a 2-1 defeat to Spurs, ended the club's title ambitions, though.

Wenger admits losing the likes of captain Cesc Fabregas and defender Gallas towards the end of the campaign did not help, but he is hopeful the team can bounce back and win the title next year.

"When you're as close to a trophy and you don't do it, it's disappointing but overall if you look back over the season, I am proud of our attitude and spirit," the Frenchman told Arsenal TV online. "Unfortunately we got injuries in the final sprint of the season and it was a bit too much.

"This season has shown that we have quality, spirit and we have also discovered players who have made massive improvements so there is a very strong basis to do extremely well.

"Not a lot is needed when you come as close as we did this year having lost the big games. I think we have a massive chance to come back and win it. Let's be consistent, come back next year and be even stronger."

Wenger highlighted Kevin Phillips' injury-time equaliser at St Andrew's in March as the point when he knew his side had lost out in the title race. "The turning point was at Birmingham," said the manager. "We couldn't afford to concede that late goal when we had come back into the title race."

Wenger also believes Arsenal's away form will have to improve if they are to challenge next year after his side won only eight of their games away from the Emirates Stadium this season, three fewer than Manchester United.

He said: "We had a good home season. We were disappointed to lose the two big home games against Manchester United and Chelsea but overall at home we did everything that was required of us. Away we had periods where we were strong and others when were vulnerable, especially recently."

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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 appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas