Well that’s that then! The ‘Benzema to Arsenal’ stories have been hogging the headlines for the last month (as they do every summer) but now Arsene Wenger has finally come out and stated that he is more than happy with his current strike-force, and the Benzema rumours are purely media talk.
He said in todays pre-game Press conference: “I never came out on Benzema,”
“It is just media talk. When [Alexis] Sanchez and [Danny] Welbeck are back we feel we have the needed striking force.”
Okay, so we have Giroud, Walcott, Welbeck and Sanchez as our strikers, whether we like it or not!
So now what will the media talk about until the end of the transfer window? For me, the obvious gap in the squad is the backup for Francis Coquelin, especially as Jack Wilshere’s ankle fracture could mean him being unavailable for the next couple of months. Yes we have the ageing and injury-prone Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini as probable replacements but I believe Wilshere would be the perfect backup after taking that role for England.
Wilshere missed five months of last season with ankle problems, but Wenger thinks that it is a positive that this new problem is unrelated: “There is minimal damage apart from the bone damage – there is no damage at all apart from that. It was a collision in training and it was all completely accidental,” Wenger said.
“He’s down but he’s coping with it. He’ll play with the same confidence and desire when he comes back.
“You never get used to that, you never get used to your body letting you down.
“The positive thing is that it’s not a recurrence of an old injury and also another positive is that the history of his injuries doesn’t play a big part in his head.
“He plays with the same confidence and desire. It’s difficult when you are at that age – when you love to play football but can’t it’s mentally difficult.”
So what does Wenger do? Bring in more competition or simply hope that Coquelin will stay fit until Wilshere recovers? But why keep Flamini and Arteta in the squad if he doesn’t expect to play them……