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English Premiership

Wenger to go on a spree

LONDON, January 4 – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits he is ready to make a splash in the January sales as he searches for the right player to improve his title-chasing squad.Wenger’s side are in the hunt for three trophies after coming from behind to set up an FA Cup trip to Stoke with 2-1 win at West Ham in the third round on Sunday.

The Gunners trailed to Alessandro Diamanti’s first half strike and were within 12 minutes of going out at the first hurdle until Aaron Ramsey capped a fine individual display with the equaliser.

Eduardo put the seal on Arsenal’s dramatic late fightback when he headed in Carlos Vela’s cross in the 83rd minute to send the north Londoners into Wednesday’s crucial league clash against Bolton on a high.

Arsenal can move into second place in the Premier League, and within one point of leaders Chelsea, if they beat Bolton and Wenger’s side also have a Champions League last 16 clash against Porto to look forward to.

With so much to play for and injuries robbing his squad of Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott, Wenger knows a top-class signing could make a major difference as he tries to end the club’s five-year wait for a major trophy.

"At the moment we have nine injuries. We could do with a player or two. We’ll try to be in the market," Wenger said.

"I have the money and the desire (to sign someone) but I don’t have the player. Basically it depends how the big guns will move. I speak of Manchester City and Chelsea.

"If they buy from English clubs the market will be busy. If not then it won’t because there is not a lot of money around."

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Knowing how important it is to beat Bolton, Wenger sent out a weakened team against West Ham with five changes to eleven that defeated Portsmouth last week.

For long periods at a ice-cold Upton Park it looked as if that gamble would lead to Arsenal’s exit as Diamanti converted Valon Behrami’s pass to deservedly put West Ham ahead.

But Wales midfielder Ramsey, 19, was at heart of all Arsenal’s best moments and he helped turn the tide in Arsenal’s favour.

"Ramsey was one of the few in the first half who played at a high pace. He improves from game to game," Wenger said.

"In pre-season I set a target for him to play 15 to 20 games and it looks like he will get that quite quickly.

"He has great physical stamina, is quick and can play on the flanks when Fabregas comes back. Of course his best positon is central midfield because he is a goalscorer."

While he searches for the right man to bolster his squad, Wenger is also encouraged by the form of Croatia forward Eduardo, who has scored three times in his last four games as he returns to peak form following the broken leg that sidelined him for a year.

"He comes slowly back," Wenger said. "He has been out for a year. A footballer is not like an engine where you drive off at 100mph. He is getting better with each game."

West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola took heart from the way his depleted side pushed Arsenal hard and the Italian is convinced the Hammers will pull clear of the relegation zone when they get injured stars like Scott Parker back.

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"Trust me this team is going to be hard to beat when we have everybody back," he said.

"It would be nice to bring someone in. But everyone knows the financial situations and knows we have problems. As far as I know nobody is going."

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