Wenger admits Arsenal are in for 2i players but not Zaha and unlikely Diame

Arsene Wenger confirmed in Tuesday’s press conference that Arsenal are interested in bringing in quality players this January stating specifically that the number of players was unimportant. Then later, when asked by a journalist if Arsenal were interested in bringing in two players, Arsene said specifically, yes, two.

This idea that Arsene might be both “after two players” and might be “after a non-specific number of quality players” has caused some consternation among the Arsenal faithful. This is especially the case when Arsene also admitted weakness in the defensive midfield position and follows that revelation up with an admission that the Frenchman is a fan of West Ham’s Momo Diame. However, contrary to reports in the Daily Mail it should not be taken as written in stone that Arsenal will sign two players, nor that Arsenal are interested in a holding midfielder, and certainly not that Arsenal have bid or will bid for Momo Diame — regardless of how sparkling his performance is against the Arsenal today.

Arsene Wenger is well known for his impenetrable press conferences. They are often riddles wrapped in an enigma which may contain many potent quotables but little in the way of actual substance. He rarely names names and often jests with the press, and always does so in a way that generates good copy for their headline writers, especially in the January transfer window.

So, when this presser started Wenger was at his level best, refusing to be drawn on which or how many players that the club are interested in. Instead specifying “It is not the number that counts but the quality.”

Then, literally minutes later, he seems to change his mind and admits that Arsenal are after two players. The exchange goes like this:

journalist: “I know you don’t want to talk about specific players but you said earlier that you are after two targets, is that still the case?”
Wenger: “Yes.” (scratches a spot on his neck)
journalist: “Are you any closer to identifying those two?”
Wenger: “We work very hard on it.”

Rather than a flat out admission that Arsenal will sign two players in the next 8 days, this is the admission of a man who seems to be looking for two players. I don’t think of this as a “real” number, more an imaginary number, 2 players if you will.

No mention of specific names, and no mention of specific positions, more like an admission that “if I can get them, I have two players in mind” or more likely “I have two positions that I think Arsenal need strengthening, but it can be difficult to find the quality we would like.” The reason I like the latter interpretation (that it’s positions and not players) is because it jibes with his earlier statement about looking for quality over quantity.

This interpretation of Wenger’s statements does not preclude Arsenal from buying nor guarantee a purchase, it is simply stating that I believe him when he says he is looking for someone and specifically for two positions.

The “two players” quote, however, is preceded by what seems to be an explosive admission that Arsenal are “short” in the defensive midfield position and followed by what could be interpreted as interest in Momo Diame.

But this shortness in the DM position is in the context of admitting that first choice Arteta is out, that backup Diaby is short of match fitness, and that third choice Coquelin picked up a hamstring injury. Perhaps Arsene Wenger is considering a fresh player there, lord knows many would welcome such an addition, but it seems unlikely. Arsenal are basically in the same position with regards to defensive midfielder as they were when they sold Song. And the only mitigating factor would be if Arteta’s injury is worse than thought, then we might see an addition.

And then when asked about Diame he smiles a bit and says that “[Diame] has a great presence in a game, I’ve seen him in games where he’s had a big impact” and “he can drive the midfield.” Precisely the kind of quote he loves to give (right after saying that he doesn’t talk about specific players) and precisely the type of quote the press love, because it generates such great copy on what would probably otherwise be a slow news day.

Maybe Arsenal are in for Diame. But isn’t it just as likely that the two players are a forward to take over from Theo Walcott on the right and an experienced keeper who doesn’t mind helping young Szczesny out?

Debate will rage, doubtless, but one thing you can count on is that no answers will be forthcoming from Wenger on who the targets are/were until after February 1.


24 thoughts on “Wenger admits Arsenal are in for 2i players but not Zaha and unlikely Diame

  1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +111 cannons (@11cannons)

    Not long ago he also mentioned in a couple of different quotes how difficult it is to know what is truth and what is fiction when it comes to transfers. I’m thinking specifically of interest in Zaha and the question of United’s interest. Paraphrasing, his response was any inquiry from Arsenal to a club about a player results in the club saying United, Milan and Real are all interested, but that it was difficult whether to discern the truth.

    He could also be showing his hand a little in an effort to calm Gooners’ anxious clinging to every utterance he himself makes about transfers.Ferguson credited Wenger as being a hell of a poker player over van Persie’s transfer. I put most of what he says down as a bluff when it comes to these things. The only way to know is, when the window shuts, who is wearing a spanking new Arsenal kit. Time will tell.

  2. +10 Vote -1 Vote +1ignatzuk

    At least 34.8% of the anger in the Arsenal blogosphere is generated by people who don’t understand that Arsene likes to tease the press, and that his public statements are not to be taken at face value.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1caribkid

      That’s a very specific % my friend. Would you care to educate the uninformed and math dunces how you arrived at that conclusion? It would certainly be appreciated.

      Just saying!

    2. -6 Vote -1 Vote +1mystic

      Which means there is still 65.2% that willfully accept being stitched up. Perhaps we should all stop looking at who we are not buying and start concentrating on who we might be selling – oh no its ok, he doesn’t usually flog our best players until the summer.

  3. +8 Vote -1 Vote +1nycgunner

    What is it about Chelsea 03 FC that makes an utter cnut out of every player who goes there? Hazard just kicked a ball boy in his ribs. Class act.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1craig

      In his defense, Hazard had some cnutery in him before he joined Chelsea. I think a club of them naturally attracts like minded individuals!

  4. +7 Vote -1 Vote +1clifffy

    Its just a good idea to watch only the second half…but then…what a strike from Poldoll….wont want to miss that beauty live…

    Am having the hunch that the stat on goals scored from outside the box is on a five season high…should verify it though…

    The way we created chances…there is so much hope..

    before they hand out the medals for the day, let me say Ramsey was outstanding today in the wilshere support role…and makes up for his lack of physicality with an energizer bunny performance…

  5. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Roland C Rozario

    Looking foward to see who Arsenal or rather Arsene ‘capture/s’ during this window of opportunity! Ah…..let the man do his job!

  6. +7 Vote -1 Vote +1caribkid

    This one is for all the Ramsey abusers. Outside of Poldi, (my MOTM), Giroud (grudgingly because he scored 2 goals), Ramsey was the best Arsenal player on the pitch in a game where we had no bad individual performances.

    Great to see that type of performance from the young man as he was very Arteta-ish.

    1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1jaymin

      He’s a great player, and i have never understood why the fans turn on him so readily. prior to his injury he played in the pivot alongside Song or Deni while Fabregas took the 10. good to see him returning from his ridiculous exile to the wing. hopefully we buy a real winger.

      1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Tee Song

        Fans turned on him because after Cesc and Nasri were sold and Rosicky and Wilshere were rendered unavailable for most and all of the season, he was thrust into the attacking midfield role immediately after returning from a broken leg and he turned out not to be Cesc. It’s not his best position, he’s always struck me as being more of a box to box type who could excel at making late runs into the box but not someone who can orchestrate the attack from in the hole, at least not for a ball hogging team like Arsenal. It was good to see him play well in that deeper role. He looks like he’s been watching Arteta and kept the play simple and concentrated on keeping the ball circulating rather than the Gerrard like Hollywood passes over the top.

  7. +6 Vote -1 Vote +1Eddykane

    kind of performance which lifts your whole week. and to top it all wenger comments about got get to work on the transfers, you gotta hand to him this guy is good. forget PSG i think this man could should run for the french president. he could sort the euro crisis, thats for sure.

    came across a term recently, DEFLECTION. not even sure if can be used in this context , but if there was a word to describe wengers public statements then i think deflection would be it.
    so transfers, yes, no, maybe so, maybe 2 maybe more or not well see, do the oki koki and turn around, ok gotta go.

    oh man can believe i actually found this on you tube classic:


    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Yan

      Wait, what? What did they do to our Air Force? Liked the end though :D

      Going into Football matters, well, what else to say? Go Ramsey!

      You know, this 2nd half-Arsenal might not be a bad thing after all. Kind of a self fulfilling prophecy. If the players buy it, maybe we can expect terrific 2nd halves performances! I’m sure Pep is taking notes.

      Now if only we could cut the crap on 1st halves.

  8. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1aj

    David Villa and Victor Wanyama – that would be perfect (but I think we’ll get Diame over Wanyama because he is cheaper!)

  9. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    Wenger is such a card. The press are going mad as every player they’ve linked us with has either gone to the new “Sp**s’, Newcastle or Russia. The press are running out of players to link us with and we are running out of names to dream about. All I can say is say is stay tuned for Wenger will surely surprise us.

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