I don't need to buy a striker, insists Wenger

Bendtner's recovery eases pressure on Arsenal manager to dip into his £35m warchest

By Mark Fleming
Saturday 09 January 2010 01:00

Arsene Wenger has a transfer budget of around £35m burning a hole in his pocket but the likelihood of him spending any of it in January has receded with the news that striker Nicklas Bendtner can return to full training next week.

At this stage of the season most managers are asking their board if they can spend some money on a new player or two, but not Wenger. He is without leading scorer Robin van Persie for probably the rest of the season with ankle ligament damage but still he is unlikely to buy another striker now that Bendtner is recovering well from a groin injury.

"If I find a really good opportunity we will do it but, for the rest, wait and see," he said. "If we have Bendtner, [Carlos] Vela, Eduardo, [Andrei] Arshavin and [Theo] Walcott coming back available, then we have quite a good number of strikers. We can be a bit more relaxed.

"Bendtner should join in [training] next week. His fitness is not too bad because he worked hard, but could only run in straight lines because he has a groin problem. Groin problems, they cannot change direction. If Bendtner is a long term, we were in an absolute position to get a striker but not now. We can take it or leave it now if we don't find what we want."

Wenger admitted Bordeaux's Morrocan international striker Marouane Chamakh remains a target, but probably only after the end of the season. "Chamakh is still available for the summer," Wenger said. "We have not met his agent and not spoken about it. He is a player we have an interest in, but we are focused on short term at the moment."

He also ruled out a move for Andre-Pierre Gignac of Toulouse, unless the French side drop their asking price of £20m. Wenger did, however, leave the door open to a possible return for Sol Campbell, who has been training with the club since walking out on Notts County in September.

Campbell, 35, played for 197 games for Arsenal between 2001 and 2006 and Wenger has been impressed with the way the defender has been working at the club's training HQ.

Wenger said: "We have a level of interest in every good player. He trains very hard. He has a fantastic attitude, good fitness. Of course he is not the youngest but he is in a very good shape. He can still play in the Premier League, I've said that many times. He is important in the dressing-room as well. He is positive with the young players. I think a Premier League club will sign him."

Wenger's side host Everton today, weather permitting, as the form team in the Premier League having taken 16 points from a possible 18 since they lost 3-0 at home to Chelsea in November, and despite losing players such as Van Persie, Bendtner, Walcott, Gaël Clichy and Kieran Gibbs to injury. Arsenal are also the division's top scorers with 51 goals to their name, and average more than three goals per game this season at The Emirates.

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