Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insists he is focused on the Gunners' opening game of the Premier League season against Liverpool on Sunday (14 August) – not signing new players. The Frenchman has come in for criticism ahead of the new campaign for not buying more players in the summer transfer window, but Wenger has defended his position.
The north London giants have signed Rob Holding, Takuma Asano and Granit Xhaka this summer and are in the market for a new defender. But ahead of their game against Liverpool, Wenger said he is not too concerned with Arsenal's transfer business for the moment.
"Today my focus is not too much on transfers because we have an important game in 48 hours and to win this game, transfers won't help us because we have a strong squad and have to deal with the game," the Arsenal boss – who is without Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Gabriel for the clash against Liverpool – told a pre-match press conference, according to The Mirror.
"We have lost three centre backs because Laurent Koscielny is also not ready and out of the game but I believe we are equipped to do well. Transfer wise, as soon as we do something we will inform you."
Wenger also insisted Arsenal can hold their own in the transfer market, despite the spending power of the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United. "You focus on your squad and quality and try to strengthen where you can," Wenger said about their ability to compete in the market. "We were not in competition with Manchester United for any player. We have done what we wanted and want to do more."
Arsenal have been strongly linked with a move for Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi in recent days, but Wenger refused to discuss the rumour at the press conference. Asked about the proposed deal, Wenger replied: "I cannot tell you."
Meanwhile, Wenger admitted that three of his English players, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, all face "massive" seasons in 2016/17. "All three have a point to prove for different reasons. Most of the time it is because they are injured but today at the top level you have to be consistently, physically at the top," the Arsenal boss admitted.
"The difference between players and the teams is so small that you have to be at the top physically."