Wenger keen on Hazard but rules out move this season
Saturday 08 January 2011
Arsene Wenger has confirmed an interest in Lille's Belgian winger Eden Hazard.
The Arsenal manager was asked yesterday about Hazard's comments that playing for the Gunners would be a "dream" and responded that he hoped to be able to realise Hazard's ambition.
When later pressed on his interest in Hazard, Wenger made clear that due to a surfeit of forwards there would be no move until this summer at the earliest. "We have 17 strikers," he explained. "In the offensive department, we have many players. If I give Carlos Vela and Jay [Emmanuel-]Thomas out [on loan], it is because we have what it takes. At the end of the season we'll have a look at the situation but at the moment it's completely ruled out."
Hazard, who turned 20 yesterday, has 17 international caps for Belgium and has been voted as Ligue 1's best young player for the last two seasons. He is an attacking midfielder with a style reminiscent of Arsenal's own Samir Nasri, himself signed from the French league at the age of 20 three years ago.
Arsenal face Leeds United in the third round of the FA Cup today and Wenger hopes to welcome Aaron Ramsey back into the squad. He could not guarantee that the Welsh midfielder would make his first Arsenal start since February, but confirmed that he would return to the first team after a loan spell at Nottingham Forest, where he completed only one 90-minute match but made five appearances.
"He needs to get all of his movement and pace back – he is not completely there yet," said Wenger. "He can only get it if he continues to practice. I still give him one or two months to be completely back." He described Ramsey's mental state as "reassuring", and added: "He's not scared – you never know how that acts on players' minds, but he's not scared."
Wenger also confirmed that Robin van Persie, Jack Wilshere and Nasri would be among players absent from the team at the Emirates Stadium today, while he has not decided yet whether Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny will start.
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food