• Premier League

Arsenal defend lack of deadline deals

Harry Harris, ESPNFC
September 1, 2012
Arsene Wenger did not make moves on Friday © PA Photos

Arsenal have defended their lack of movement in the transfer market on deadline day after seeing North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur make late moves for personnel.

As clubs around them strengthened in many areas this summer, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger sold last season's top goalscorer Robin van Persie to Manchester United, while defensive midfielder Alex Song also left for Barcelona.

The French coach moved early in the market by signing Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski, before landing Santi Cazorla for £16 million from Malaga.

But the sales of Van Persie and Song led to suggestions that further investment was needed from the Gunners, and on deadline day they were linked with a loan move for Chelsea's Michael Essien.

Essien, though, ultimately signed a loan deal with Real Madrid, and Arsenal have insisted there was no serious interest in the Ghana midfielder.

An Arsenal source told ESPN: "Regarding the squad, there were no close, late attempts and we were never in for Essien.

"Arsene feels with the three signings, together with (Abou) Diaby back, and (Jack) Wilshere, (Tomas) Rosicky and (Bacary) Sagna close to fitness, the squad is strong."

The source stressed that Wenger had money available to him if he had wished to buy a player.

"There are obviously resources to spend and he's given the freedom to do so," the source said.

The Gunners' rivals Tottenham, meanwhile, were active on deadline day, as they landed France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and Clint Dempsey from Fulham.

Nevertheless, Wenger insisted that the Gunners are still strong contenders in the Premier League - despite many people writing them off after a difficult summer.

"You never expect much from us, but we always have a good potential to surprise you," he said. "If I listened to the predictions on the same day last year, it was predicted we would finish between 10th and 15th. We finished third.

"Having watched all the games I could watch until now in the Premier League, it's very difficult to single one team out above everyone else.

"Liverpool certainly have a chance to be fighting for the top, but we're competing with Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United now as well."

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