x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Arsene Wenger refuses to panic buy at Arsenal

Barcelona's David Villa linked, David Beckham training with the club, while Brendan Rodgers says Liverpool are over cup woe ahead of Emirates stadium match.

Arsene Wenger, Arsenal manager, would not confirm interest in signing Barcelona's David Villa. Philip Brown / Reuters
Arsene Wenger, Arsenal manager, would not confirm interest in signing Barcelona's David Villa. Philip Brown / Reuters

Arsene Wenger says panic buying in the January transfer window is a symptom of what is wrong with the modern game and a manager must be "strong enough to do nothing".

Despite clamour from supporters to recruit, the Arsenal manager only intends to add to his squad by tomorrow's deadline if a player can enhance his current side.

Wenger revealed the former England captain David Beckham will train at Arsenal's Hertfordshire training base, but would not confirm an interest in the Spain striker David Villa, saying only that Barcelona do not wish to sell.

"It's just like you go out and you buy anyone just to give people hope," Wenger said.

"I think what is important is that you bring in players who can strengthen your team, or you do nothing, you're strong enough to do nothing. I always said that what is important is to bring a player in who can strengthen the squad.

"Anyone, for me, means just exactly what is today the modern game has become."

Wenger is happy with the forwards at his disposal - Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and Gervinho, who is at the African Nations Cup with Ivory Coast.

Wenger added: "It doesn't go away, but Barcelona doesn't want to sell David Villa. They have made that very, very clear."

Wenger says the retention of Walcott, who signed a new long-term contract earlier this month, was important.

"It gives two messages out," he said. "First: that we want to keep our best players and are capable to do it. Secondly, offensively we're not in the position where we have absolutely to be desperate to buy anybody because Theo can play through the middle and down the flanks."

Wenger was speaking ahead of tonight's Premier League clash with Liverpool.

Under Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool appear to be following Wenger's philosophy of trusting in young players.

It backfired for Rodgers when Liverpool were beaten in the FA Cup by Oldham Athletic on Sunday, leading to criticism of the young players by the manager.

But Rodgers is confident there will be no cup hangover tonight, saying: "It's quite easy [to move on]. It's one of the things you have to be able to do in modern football, and especially at a club like this."

He said the players would go into tonight's game with greater motivation to win.

"We must really focus in on the game on Wednesday, it's an opportunity against a good opponent but an opponent that's around about us in terms of points so we have to go there with the confidence and focus that we've shown in the league of late.

"And if we do that we'll have a great chance of getting a good result."

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