Football Football

Wenger; Draxler talk is ‘UFO sighting’


DRAXLER-SCHALKELONDON, January 17- Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was in jovial mood on Friday as he said suggestions the Premier League leaders were about to sign Germany’s Julian Draxler were comparable to UFO sightings.

The Frenchman, a long-time critic of the January transfer window, was responding to reports that Schalke midfielder Draxler had already visited Arsenal’s training complex in Hertfordshire, north-west of London.

“That (rumour) is like an unidentified flying object — some see them everywhere,” Wenger told reporters on Friday.

“Are we close to signing anybody? At the moment I would say no.”

Meanwhile Wenger said the present mid-season transfer window needed either to be abolished or at least altered drastically.

“Either you scrap it completely, or you leave it open until as long as possible to the last four games,” he said.

Wenger’s team head into Saturday’s match at home to Fulham a point in front of free-scoring Manchester City at the top of the table.

Manuel Pellegrini’s expensively-assembled side are on the cusp of scoring a hundred goals in all competitions so far this season after a 5-0 thrashing of Blackburn Rovers in their FA Cup third round replay this week.

Wenger said he accepted Arsenal, under the control of US businessman Stan Kroenke, would always be outgunned financially as long as City were owned by Sheikh Mansour, a billionaire based in the oil-rich Gulf state of Abu Dhabi.

But he said that was no reason why Arsenal couldn’t match them on the pitch.

“In terms of their resources, no (we cannot compete) because they have unlimited resources. But with our resources available, we are ready to fight,” said Wenger.

“I think what is very interesting is what we want to do and how we want to play. Can we beat these teams?

“It is even greater because they are top quality, which I acknowledge, but we want to beat them and therefore with our style, we need to get our resources out there in every game to have a chance to do it.”

As for suggestions Arsenal, who last won a major trophy in 2005, won’t last the distance in the title race, a dismissive Wenger said: “Let people make Man City or Chelsea the favourites, we can accept that.

“The reality is that tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon at 3pm, that is where you can perform and where we have an opportunity to convince people that we are serious about what we want to achieve.”

The 64-year-old Wenger, now the longest-serving manager currently in the Premier League following the retirement of Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson, is out of contract at the end of this season.

Asked if he’d signed a new Arsenal deal, Wenger said: “There is always a point where you have to decide, of course.

“There is a point where you have to decide and there is a point where you have to make your decision public.”

Pressed on whether he’d yet made that decision, Wenger replied: “You can take that sentence the way you want it.”