Arsene Wenger has revealed that Spartak Moscow will cover Kim Kallstrom’s wages while he’s out injured and confirmed that he was aware of the Swede’s injury problem before finalising the paperwork for his loan.
Facing the media after Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace the boss was, somewhat unsurprisingly, quizzed on the news his temporary signing won’t kick a ball in anger for the Gunners for at least a month going so far as to admit that he’d have pulled out of the deal had time not been a factor.
“Yes of course it crossed my mind,” said Wenger about whether he came close to reneging on Kallstrom’s contract offer.
“I would not have signed him if we had two or three more days to do something, but it was Friday night at five o’clock, so it was [a case of] you [sign] nobody or you do it under these conditions.
“I decided to do it because we might, because of the number of games we have now in February, we might need the players in March or April. There is a possibility [that he may not play] but as well there is the possibility that he scores us the winning goal that might be vitally important.
“At some stage in our job you have to make a decision. Are you wrong or right? You will only know at the end of the season. I made this decision because, since the start of the season, all our central midfielders have missed a part of the season – whether it’s Flamini, Wilshere, Arteta, Chamberlain or Cazorla.
“All of them have had injuries and it can happen that a few of them miss the next part [of the season] together. It’s true that in the first four to six weeks we have not sorted that problem out.”
“Yes,” continued Wenger when asked if Kallstrom’s Russian owners would contribute to covering his wages. “They pay the first six weeks’ wages.”
“[Being fit at the end of February] is the best-case scenario. I’m sure if you have played football you might have played with a micro-fracture of your vertebra without even noticing it because on a normal scan you don’t find out. He might play before that [the end of February] but he might play as well later.”
Turning his attention to the Gunners latest win, a result that sends them back to the top of the Premier League, Wenger hit back at media suggestions that his side aren’t capable of maintaining their challenge.
“In the last seven years you [the media] have ingrained that in your brain, and it’s very difficult to get it out now!
“I can understand that completely because we haven’t done it for a while, and as well I must say that we face quality competitors. We do not play against average teams and Man City have scored over 100 goals, so everybody thinks ‘can you beat these teams?’ I say yes and that is what we have to show.
“It’s all to do. The only thing I can say is that after 24 games we are there, and it’s now about how we finish the season.”