Arsene Wenger will not seek reinforcements in Arsenal’s midfield after playmaker Santi Cazorla was ruled out for three months with an ankle problem as he is unlikely to find anyone of the Spaniard’s calibre in the January transfer window.
Cazorla, who has scored two goals in 11 appearances in all competitions this season, last featured in Arsenal’s Champions League win over Ludogorets in October and was initially expected to make his return from injury in November.
“In midfield we have many players, but there’s two reasons (for not buying a replacement). We have the numbers in quality. Secondly, in January, you wouldn’t necessarily find a Cazorla even if you wanted to,” Wenger told reporters on Friday.
The 31-year-old’s incisive passing was sorely missed in last month’s draws against Manchester United, Paris St Germain and Tottenham Hotspur and his injury remains a major blow to Arsenal’s Premier League title aspirations.
Cazorla, who is set to undergo surgery next week, faced a similar situation with a knee injury last season when he was expected to return within 12 weeks but instead spent six months on the sidelines.
“Santi is desperate to play. He’s only happy on the football pitch. He wants to get out of that vicious circle of coming out and back in again,” Wenger added.
With Carl Jenkinson failing to impress and first-choice Hector Bellerin out with injury, the right back position is turning out to be problematic for Wenger as Mathieu Debuchy is now set for a six-week spell on the sidelines.
Debuchy made his first appearance in more than a year in last weekend’s win over Bournemouth.
“It’s a severe hamstring injury, six weeks I think. But he is as well a fighter; he will fight to come back,” Wenger said.
Wenger admitted he is always in conversation with the Football Association (FA) but would not confirm whether he had talks over the England manager’s job before Gareth Southgate was appointed this week.
“Look, I need to keep confidential my conversations with the FA,” the Frenchman said.
England striker Danny Welbeck is back in training but is four weeks away from a return to the first-team, while in-form Olivier Giroud is facing a late fitness test before Saturday’s league game against 16th-placed West Ham United.
Arsenal are fourth in the table on 28 points, three behind leaders Chelsea after 13 games. (Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by John O’Brien)