The Arsenal Supporters' Trust (AST) has criticised the club for the lack of significant transfer activity in the mid-season window. The Gunners made only one signing all through the month - Spain international Nacho Monreal joined the club for a reported £8m.
The statement reads:
"The January transfer window is an opportunity for teams to strengthen for the future and provide a boost to the squad for the season run-in. Once again, despite poor league form by our own high standards, we see extremely limited activity by Arsenal."
"We can only assume this is purely a footballing decision taken by the manager, and that across the squad he feels there were no other options better than the 'two per position' he maintains are both important and available to him."
Arsenal are struggling to perform consistently, especially against the traditional rivals like Manchester United and Chelsea; the club have won only once this season in league games against Manchester City, United, Chelsea and Liverpool. The Gunners are presently sixth in the Premier League, with 38 points from 24 games. Wenger's men are four points behind north London rivals Tottenham in the race for the final Champions League spot, with Liverpool, Swansea City, West Brom and Everton to count as rivals, at least for now.
And although Wenger did sign players in the summer - Spain international Santi Cazorla, Germany's Lukas Podolski and Frenchman Olivier Giroud joined - the magnitude of the loss of Dutch striker Robin van Persie and Cameroon midfielder Alex Song continues to be felt. And more than van Persie (the trio of Cazorla, Podolski and Giroud, with Theo Walcott, makes up his loss), the fact Wenger has yet to replace Song has been widely remarked on.
The club were linked to Mohamed Diame, as a potential replacement for Song, and the 25-year-old Senegalese international's performances for the Hammers this season, coupled with a bargain £3.5m release clause, would have made him a hugely interesting signing. Arsenal were strongly linked to the player, with Sam Allardyce admitting he would be powerless if Wenger made a move, but nothing materialised.
AST also insisted transfer funding was not an issue at the Emirates, with their independent report claiming as much £70m (€82m) is available to Arsene Wenger. They also claimed there was no basis behind claims of financial austerity preached by their manager.
The claim of significant transfer funds being available is backed by statements from Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood, who, in October, indicated Wenger would have up to £35m to spend in January.
"The financial results were good and we want to put that money to use if Arsene decides he wants more players but if the manager wants to reinforce the squad in January, he will be able to do that," the chairman explained.
Finally, AST point out that failure to qualify for the Champions League will cost between £30m and £40m but say the amount can be recovered by increased television and commercial revenue, as well as income from the Queensland Road site's sale, and call the situation "manageable".
All said and done, though, the bottom-line is Arsenal will have to manage for the rest of this season with the available players. A fourth-place finish and Champions League football, as ex-midfielder Ray Parlour said, is certainly within the club's reach. The only question is - is it strong enough to do more than finish fourth. Can Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla lead Arsenal to a Premier League title? Arsene Wenger believe so.