Arsene Wenger insists that he still needs Luis Suarez despite Arsenal’s impressive victory over Manchester City in Helsinki – and has not ruled out a move for Bayern Munich midfielder Luiz Gustavo as well.
The Gunners beat their Premier League rivals 3-1 with goals from Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud in what was the final pre-season friendly for both clubs.
Having maintained before the game that he has not been put off by comments from Liverpool owner John Henry that Suarez will not be sold to Arsenal under any circumstances, Wenger insisted that the manner of victory has not altered his views about the size and strength of his squad.
He is already concerned that he will lose players to injury during this week’s international break before Arsenal kick off the Premier League season against Aston Villa on Saturday and then face Fenerbahce in the Champions League in midweek.
Asked once again if he has given up hope of signing Suarez, Wenger said: ‘No. We will do it the right way and see what happens.
‘I think the problem is the strength of the squad. Today is one game we are going to play 55 games. We are maybe a bit thin squad wise to go through the whole season.
‘The players now go on international duty and come back on Thursday so it will be very short time to prepare for our first game on Saturday.
‘We have some big games in front of us. We play Aston Villa and then the Champions League after that so it’s important we don’t lose players now.’
Wenger added that ‘there is nothing concrete at the moment’ when asked about speculation Arsenal have lined up a £14million deal for Gustavo, but did not dismiss suggestions that it may happen.
The 26-year-old midfielder is said to be surplus to requirements at Munich following the arrival of Thiago Alcantara and has also attracted interest from Chelsea and Wolfsburg.
The Arsenal boss confirmed that it was a planned move to take off Jack Wilshere at half-time against City. The midfielder, who has only played twice for England in two years since injuring his ankle against Switzerland in 2011, is set to play against Scotland on Wednesday.
And Wenger was delighted with the performance of his players as they beat one of their main rivals in front of a sell-out crowd in Helsinki’s Olympic Stadium.
‘I’m happy because it was a game of good intensity with two teams who were really putting effort in,’ he said. ‘We have some points to work on but it was positive tactically and attitude wise. We scored goals, created chances and were highly focussed.
‘I don’t know how much confidence it will give the players but it will certainly lift our confidence. There’s a good attitude with all the players.’
City’s late consolation goal came from Alvaro Negredo but manager Manuel Pellegrini admitted that he has some issues to iron out before they face Newcastle a week on Monday.
Defensively, City looked shaky and Pellegrini still hopes to bring in a new centre-back with Matija Nastasic out of action until next month with an ankle injury.
‘We’ll see next week if I can bring in the player we need,’ he said. ‘If not we have in our squad the way to resolve that problem. We had some problems defensively and we will work on that.
‘It wasn’t the best way to finish pre-season. I’m always concerned when we’re losing 3-0 but we just a lost a game in pre-season, we didn’t lose three points and that’s important for me.
‘But the score didn’t reflect what happened during the match. We had chances but didn’t score. Arsenal had three or four chances in the whole match and scored three.
‘It was the pre-season I thought we would have. We are changing a lot of things, we’re starting a new cycle with a different style of players. It’s normal that the team will make mistakes.
‘That’s three wins and four defeats but hopefully in the next week we will play the way I want them to play.
‘Of course the expectation is too much and that’s a good thing. We all have expectations and are hopeful for the new season.
‘When you make a lot of changes you need time but I’m sure we will improve the little things we have to in the next 10 days.’DailyMail