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Wenger: Jan window 'nearly impossible'

ESPN staff
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Arsene Wenger only signed one player in the January transfer window © Getty Images
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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has claimed it is "nearly impossible" for the Premier League's top clubs to strengthen their squads in the January transfer window, after he made just one major signings in the mid-season scramble for talent.

The £8.3m deadline-day capture of Malaga left-back Nacho Monreal proved to be the only signing Wenger made in January, despite his earlier claims that he would 'be active' in player recruitment after a turbulent start to Arsenal's season.

Yet the Gunners boss has now backtracked on his previous statements and suggested it is tough for the Premier League giants to make huge improvements to their side in the January window, as he suggests the mid-season transfer scramble is primarily an opportunity for relegation strugglers to boost their flagging campaigns.

"The teams at the top didn't buy at all," stated Wenger, who was strongly linked with a move for unsettled Barcelona striker David Villa during the January transfer window.

"The teams at the bottom did buy. This is explainable by the fact that strengthening the teams at the top at this stage of the season is nearly impossible. Teams today are so scared to go out of the Premier League that they will do anything not to go down.

"We were close to one more signing. It didn't happen because of the desires of the clubs to sell or not to sell. It was not a money problem, but a desire from other clubs. Football looks to be an exception in our society [when it comes to spending]. I always say it cannot last much longer, but I am always proved wrong on that."

Wenger proclaimed himself to be delighted with his £8.3m capture of Monreal, as he admitted his move to sign the Spanish full-back was something of a last minute decision following the injury to Kieran Gibbs.

"Our scouts have followed his progress for a while," he stated. "We had a blow with Gibbs' injury as he may now be out for four-six weeks, so we had to make a quick decision and that explains our buy. We bought him as a left back, but he can also play as a left sided midfielder. He can adapt to our style of play quickly. He has a good left foot, very mobile, good combination play. That is vital to how we play. He is available for the game against Stoke [on Saturday]."

Wenger concluded by offering his assessment on David Beckham's deadline day move to Paris Saint-Germain, as he claimed the deal highlighted how efficient his training sessions were after the former England captain toned up for his move to France by training with Arsenal.

"One training session here and he signs for PSG," said Wenger with a chuckle. "PSG look to extend their reputation and Beckham is a good part of that. Beckham is a world brand, so the eyes will be on Beckham and the French league while he is there. He has to go through a physical preparation and will take a few weeks to be match fit."

Wenger confirmed his injury-prone midfielder Abou Diaby is ready to return to first team action after his latest spell on the sidelines, while Mikel Arteta may also return against Stoke at Emirates Stadium on Saturday."

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