Arsenal's Arsene Wenger expects 'poker game' for summer targets

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger still wants to buy both a forward and a defender in the transfer window, but expects a tough "poker game" with other clubs over targeted signings.

Wenger had set his sights on three new signings when the summer started but has so far only brought in midfielder Granit Xhaka along with two young prospects -- defender Rob Holding from Bolton and Japan forward Takuma Asano.

But having already pledged to "spend big money" if the right player becomes available, Wenger also made it clear that he wants to strengthen both the attack and back four before the window closes.

"We look still for an offensive position and defensive position," Wenger told the Arsenal website. "We are very active on the transfer market but it's a long time to go. Everybody has a handbrake on at the moment. It's a little bit of a poker game until mid-August in my opinion. So we might have to be good at poker."

The Gunners have been linked with a number of strikers this summer but were snubbed by Jamie Vardy and look set to miss out on Gonzalo Higuain, who is reportedly close to a move to Juventus.

Eurosport reported on Saturday that Arsenal are closing in on signing Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez, who would give the Gunners a second scoring threat on the wing opposite Alexis Sanchez.

The Gunners could also use another experienced centre-back to provide competition for Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista, who both looked unconvincing at times last season playing alongside Laurent Koscielny.

After Arsenal's first preseason game at French club RC Lens on Friday, Wenger declined to discuss specific transfer targets but made it clear that the club is ready to splash the cash.

"We are very active, and if we find the right candidates we will spend big money," he said.