Wenger denies making move for Bridge

 

Arsene Wenger has denied making a move to sign Wayne Bridge, but admits he is likely to delve in to the loan market for a left-back after announcing that Kieran Gibbs will be out for a month following yet more surgery for the England defender.

Gibbs was expected to be out for two weeks in October with a stomach injury, but tests revealed the full-back had picked up a hernia and required surgery that would keep him out until mid-December.

The 22-year-old suffered a further setback this week, and he has had to go under the knife again, ruling him out for a month.

Wenger is already desperately short in defence, with Andre Santos out until March and Carl Jenkinson and Bacary Sagna likely to return in mid-January at the earliest.

The Gunners boss has had to field Laurent Koscielny, Thomas Vermaelen and Johan Djourou out of position at full-back recently.

While out-of-favour Manchester City defender Bridge is available on a short-term deal, Wenger has denied he has already lined up a move for the former Chelsea defender.

"I haven't made any inquiry yet for Wayne Bridge or anyone else," Wenger said.

"It is of course something we will look at but it depends on how long you have to take them.

"I have to see what is available - if I have a good opportunity then why not? They have a big impact on your wages.

"If you have to sign a player for three or four years and then you have three or four left backs, only one can play, so they are not happy.

"It can only be a short-term solution for us because we have bought Santos, we have Gibbs, we have Vermaelen who can play there, so we do not need a long-term solution."

Gibbs' promising career has been stunted by a series of injuries that have dogged him since he broke in to the Arsenal first team and his chances of making Fabio Capello's Euro 2012 squad have receded with his latest setback.

There was better news from the treatment room about Bacary Sagna and Djourou, however, with the latter making a quicker-than-expected recovery from a groin strain he suffered last Sunday at Manchester City.

"It was a blow for Kieran, but Djourou has a little chance to come back for the Wolves game," Wenger said.

Sagna, meanwhile, trained separately from the rest of the Arsenal squad in an open training session at the Emirates Stadium today and is recovering well from the broken leg he suffered in October.

"He's a long way ahead of schedule," Wenger said.

"I saw him still limping a little bit so we have to be careful but physically he will be ready very quickly because he worked very hard in the gym.

"The end of January is a reasonable target for him."

Wenger's injury-hit squad face Wolves on Tuesday before taking on QPR on New Year's Eve.

The two upcoming games have been given an added importance due to Robin van Persie's goalscoring exploits in 2011.

The Arsenal captain equalled Thierry Henry's club record of 34 goals in a calendar year last week and is two short of reaching Alan Shearer's Premier League record of 36 goals in a year.

Van Persie has been the catalyst for the club's turnaround in fortunes this year, but even though Wenger has been impressed with the Dutchman's efforts, he has warned his captain that the team's goals, and not his own should take priority.

"The individual records are not vital for me, they are just a sign that the team scores," Wenger said.

"He is an exceptional player, but what is important is that we win our games this Christmas."

That said, Wenger is obviously keen to see the former Feyenoord man replicate his efforts in 2012 and help the Gunners guarantee a top-four finish.

"The target for him is to be better in 2012," Wenger added.

"In sport you have always have that target, to be better than what you have done before."

PA

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