Mikel Arteta was quick to quash the latest round of transfer speculation making clear that he has no news on possible January recruits.
The Spaniard has already said he’s not expecting anything big this month, but that hasn’t stopped the red tops linking the Gunners with Manchester City’s John Stones, Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Lemar and AC Milan’s Franck Kessie.
We’ve not bothered covering any of those stories because we immediately assumed them to be guff. Still, that didn’t stop Arteta being quizzed on their veracity in his weekly press conference.
“I have bad news for you guys, I have nothing to say yet,” started Arteta.
Asked about the possibility of signing City’s Stones, a player with whom he had a close relationship at the Etihad, he added: “No, no truth at all.
He added: “John is a player that I really like and I followed. We signed him when I was at Manchester City and I worked with him for many years and know him well. When I look at centre backs he has many attributes that I like from one, but we’re not interested.”
A quick question about Ivorian midfielder Kessie, he was similarly bemused, “No truth at all at the moment.”
Arteta furthered tempered expectations by outlining the constraints facing the Gunners during this month-long window.
“It has to be the right player, in the right context that financially we can compete and we can attract and all these factors, if you put them together, are not easy in this market.”
While cover for Calum Chambers, who is sidelined for up to nine months, has made a recruiting in defence a priority, it sounds as though our new coach isn’t losing sleep over strengthening the squad.
“I’m happy we have the squad that I believe we can compete for what we want,” he said.
“I’m fine. I want to keep the players and get the maximum from the players that I want, but if this scenario changes and we need somebody, I’m expecting that we will go into the market and try to solve the issue.”
The press eventually got something to hang their hats on. Asked, if he has a wishlist, Arteta admitted: “I have, yes. You need to have one always, just in case!”