• Premier League

Wenger admits he was not keen on signing Kallstrom

ESPN staff
February 2, 2014
Kallstrom ruled out due to back injury

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted he would not have chosen to sign Kim Kallstrom had there been time to bring in someone else.

The midfielder, 31, joined Arsenal on loan on transfer deadline day from Spartak Moscow as cover for the injured Aaron Ramsey and suspended Mathieu Flamini.

However, it has since emerged that Kallstrom is carrying a back injury that is likely to keep him sidelined until at least the end of February and the manager has conceded the Sweden international may never play for Arsenal.

Of the decision to complete the signing, Wenger told The Sun : "It crossed my mind not to complete the deal and I would not have signed him if we'd had two or three more days to do something else.

"It was five o'clock on deadline day, so the decision was: sign Kallstrom or sign no one.

"He fell on his back two days before he arrived here and the medical showed he had a micro-fracture in his back.

"But many people play with a micro-fracture and don't even know they have it.

"It is very difficult to identify a player of that stature on a free loan and Spartak have accepted to pay his wages for six weeks.

"It first crossed my mind to sign another midfield player after Aaron Ramsey suffered a setback last Monday. Right across midfield we have had players who have suffered injuries.

"Mathieu Flamini, Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain -- they have all missed part of the season.

"It's true that we have not sorted that problem for the next four to six weeks.

"But I had to identify a player who has the quality to play for Arsenal and you don't want to be locked into a deal for three or four years when you keep paying them to do nothing.

"I knew the player well. Kallstrom has 108 caps for Sweden and has played for seven or eight years in France. Yes, it's possible that he might never play for Arsenal but it's also possible that he scores a winning goal in a vitally important game.

"We will only know if we made the right decision at the end of the season."

Big Sam parks his Big Bus

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Arsenal sealed a 2-0 home win against Crystal Palace which lifted them back to the top of the Premier League table.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored both goals and was the man of the match. "It's something I want to add to my game - more goals - so it was nice to get two today," he said.

"It's always an amazing feeling to score a goal and especially at a stadium like the Emirates, and I'm glad I can help the team with two goals.

"It was a tough game against Palace, and they made it hard for us in the first half. But in the second half we knew if we kept the tempo up and kept wearing them down then we'd get more opportunities, and we did."

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