Wenger expects signing but 'not close' to any deal

LONDON • At the end of a week in which Manchester City and Chelsea have bolstered their squads, Arsene Wenger revealed that Arsenal want reinforcements of their own.

But the Gunners manager conceded that they are not close to concluding the deal.

The London club have brought in only goalkeeper Petr Cech from Chelsea this summer though they continue to be linked with Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema.

"I expect (a signing) but we are not close," Wenger told a press conference ahead of his side's Premier League clash on Monday at home against Liverpool.

Reds manager Brendan Rodgers has had a busy summer signing seven new faces, including striker Christian Benteke, Brazil forward Roberto Firmino and England midfielder James Milner.

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What you want is to focus on your own strengths and make sure that you develop your team.

ARSENE WENGER, Arsenal manager, on not being able to go on a shopping spree

The trio were linked with moves to the Emirates but Wenger appeared unconcerned by other Premier League rivals who have been purchasing more heavily.

"I was asked this question two years ago when some clubs bought 10 players and people said, 'How do you feel, you have no chance now'," said the Frenchman.

"What you want is to focus on your own strengths and make sure that you develop your team."

For Milner, Monday's match is the perfect opportunity to test his side's improvement since last season's disappointing campaign.

Rodgers' team have been widely written off as also-rans in this season's title race after limping to a sixth-place finish that saw the Reds trail in 25 points behind champions Chelsea last term.

The departure of forward Raheem Sterling to Manchester City and continued fitness problems of striker Daniel Sturridge have also played a role in Liverpool's low approval rating.

But the Reds have made a quietly encouraging start and head to Arsenal in third after 1-0 wins over Stoke and Bournemouth.

The 29-year-old Milner, a close-season signing from City, believes Liverpool will get the kind of stern examination in north London that should indicate how much they need to improve to challenge for the title.

"It will be a tough game. They look sharp," he said.

"We have defended well in the first two games of the season and we are going to need to do that there."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2015, with the headline 'Wenger expects signing but 'not close' to any deal'. Print Edition | Subscribe