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Podolski to Inter a 'joke', says Wenger

ESPN staff
December 30, 2014
Marcotti: Arsenal must address defensive needs in January

Arsene Wenger has described Inter Milan's pursuit of Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski as "a joke".

A report on Monday suggested Podolski is set for a loan move to the Italian club when the transfer window reopens on Thursday, while Inter boss Roberto Mancini revealed the German is on his wanted list.

Podolski has expressed frustration at a lack of playing time on numerous occasions, but Wenger says he is going nowhere in January.

"Inter Milan is not serious," he said. "It is nothing serious. They talk, there is only talk. It is a joke.

"Podolski is a player of Arsenal Football Club and I want him to stay. Apart from that, what it is to be professional is that, as long as you are somewhere, you give your best to justify your wages and your love for the club."

Lukas Podolski has scored three goals in a season limited to substitute appearances © Getty Images

Wenger also said he will only add to his own squad in the winter window if the right players come onto his radar.

Wenger confirmed he is keen to reinforce his squad next month and has previously said a defender will be at the top of his wanted list, but he will not sign players simply to placate his critics.

"To buy just to buy is not what we want to do, but if the right opportunity turns up we will do it," Wenger said. "There is a need there, but the right opportunity has to come up.

"If you look at the number of games some players played and the injuries we have with Wilshere, Ramsey and Arteta, we are a bit short at the moment in midfield.

"Offensively we have many options - too many to keep everyone involved with the right number of games, that is for sure."

Meanwhile, Wenger suggested 2014 should be reflected upon in a positive light for Arsenal, as they ended their long wait for a trophy with FA Cup success and retained their position in the Champions League.

"Overall it was a positive year," he added. "We made 79 points last season and won the FA Cup. This season, we will see where we get, but I think we are some points short of what we could have achieved. It's time to catch back now until the end of the season what we have lost.

"We have been very, very unlucky with the injuries we have had and we have survived through that quite well. Hopefully we will not have as many injuries in the second half of the season and then we can be more consistent. It is impossible we have the same bad luck on the injury front that we had in 2014.

"It is tight and interesting [race for the top four] and it will be like that until the end. We fight to be as close as possible to the top and, with 19 games to go, let's just try to be consistent and win the next game.

"We give our best and if there is a weakness in front of us, we want to try and take advantage of it."

Wenger confirmed that winger Theo Walcott is available to play against his former club Southampton on New Year's Day, but midfielder Ramsey is taking longer than expected to recover from his thigh injury and will miss the trip to St Mary's.

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