Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has quashed speculation linking the club with a move for Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, but two players could be set to leave the club during the final two days of the January transfer window. The Gunners have been conspicuous by their absence in the market this month and the club look set to end the month almost empty-handed.
The only arrival during January has seen youngster Cohen Bramall swap non-league Hednesford Town for north London, though the 20-year-old is not expected to feature in the first team for a number of years. Wenger appears content to rely on his current squad, which is still fighting on three fronts this term.
Reports emanating from Spanish publication Diario Gol [via The Daily Telegraph] have suggested that Real president Florentino Perez has offered Arsenal and Chelsea the chance to sign Benzema, who has scored just five league goals this term. The rumours come amid the return to fitness of Danny Welbeck, who marked his first start of the season with a double in the FA Cup win over Southampton – and Wenger says his strength in depth makes a move for Benzema unrealistic.
"Because he is French?" Wenger replied when reporters asked about further reports regarding Benzema. "Maybe there are some noises he will leave Madrid. There is no need to buy a striker. The window is not my worry at the moment. On our front, we have a big squad and don't need to buy. All the big clubs are organised now to have special departments to take care of the transfers.
"It has been very quiet. On our front we have a big squad and we have not needed to buy and on the general front it has been very quiet. It shows that the players available and the strength of the English teams are not many. All the teams in England, especially the big teams, have big squads. You have to have a need to buy players but numbers and quality-wise, we have the strength and we now have to do what we can with that.
"Maybe the managers have much less on the transfers and more on the games. I believe there are people inside the clubs who take care of the transfers. Yes, his [Welbeck] return and the quality of all of our strikers [makes signings unnecessary]. When you think we have three players behind and there is Walcott. It is important we maintain that no matter what. We like to go forward and create chances."
Meanwhile, both Carl Jenkinson and Mathieu Debuchy could still leave Arsenal between now and the end of the transfer window. Both players have made just one Premier league appearance each this term and are surplus to requirements at The Emirates Stadium.
England international Jenkinson was close to joining Crystal Palace before the move broke down while Debuchy's exit has been delayed by a hamstring injury. The former Newcastle United full-back is fit again and Wenger says both deals could go through.
"There is no news about him, at all," Wenger said on Jenkinson's exit from Arsenal. "We are still open yes [to him leaving] because we have many players in this position but at the moment it doesn't look like something will happen. Still possible [that Debuchy may leave]. He is complete fit now, back in full training."