Arsene Wenger has revealed that he is finding it extremely difficult to sign defensive reinforcements in January with competition from a series of clubs with a truckload of money.
The Frenchman is in the market for a defender to add more stability to his backline, which has been struggling to cope with a series of injuries to key players.
Laurent Koscielny, the central figure in their defence last season, has been out with an Achilles problem for a major part of the season while Mathieu Debuchy recently came back after nursing an ankle issue he picked up in September.
With Wenger unable to replace Thomas Vermaelen in the summer, their backline was down to its bare bones with injuries and he had to make do by bringing in Nacho Monreal at centreback for an extended period of time.
Calum Chambers also had his moments in the Arsenal backline, but it was Per Mertesacker who has been starting game in and game out to add some experience to the side, which has been leaking goals all season.
Wenger had thereby made signing a defender his top priority in January, but is yet to make a move, which is disconcerting for Arsenal fans. However, the 65-year-old has confirmed that he is trying to complete a deal as soon as possible and is hopeful that he can add reinforcements before the window closes next month.
"You cannot guarantee," Wenger said when asked about Arsenal's chances of signing a defender. "If I give you the names of the clubs who are out with a lot of money to look for defensive players, it's unbelievable."
However, when asked if he is hopeful that the Gunners can bring in a player before the window closes, he said, "Yes", without any remonstrations.
The Gunners will face Stoke City on Sunday at the Emirates with a host of players scheduled to return to action, including Mesut Ozil, Mathieu Flamini and Aaron Ramsey. The Gunners will be out for revenge, having lost the away fixture 3-2 at the Britannia last month.