Arsene Wenger puts Andrei Arshavin signing on hold

27 January 2009 06:55
Wenger claimed that, contrary to claims on the Zenit St Petersburg website, Arsenal had not agreed a fee for the Russian striker, and that he would return to the business of trying to add to his squad only after the important trip to Everton on Wednesday.

Wenger then warned all his closest rivals that nobody can take the title – or even qualification for the Champions League – for granted in the tightest of Premier League races.

He also reiterated his determination to keep faith with the club's wage structure amid reports that Arshavin may have to accept a drop in pay as the most drawn-out deal in the transfer window edges closer to the deadline.

"We have not spoken about wages with the player," Wenger said. "The players who come in here will be on a wages structure – or they do not come in. If a player comes in it will not be until after the Everton game but we are not close to signing anybody."

Despite that, Wenger believes his side remains on course to challenge for the title. "I believe we are a close rival to Chelsea, to Liverpool, to Man United," said Wenger, whose team are six points off the table's summit. "I think, at the moment, it's much tighter than everybody thinks.

"Liverpool have been top of the table all season, but we were top in March last season. I believe in my team. We believe we have the potential to be champions.

"Man United have a big fixture list, so it's very open. We are in a position where we cannot afford to slip up a lot now, we need to be in every single game consistent and go for it."

Wenger, who has Gael Clichy available after suspension for the trip to Everton, is in negotiations with Theo Walcott with a view to tying the winger to a new contract."

He also revealed that he had not made an approach for Everton's Mikael Arteta, who is rated only as '50-50' to be fit for tonight after struggling with a rib injury. But Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini is available after a ban.

Source: Telegraph