Arsene Wenger has given his regular pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s trip to Watford. Here is a transcript in full.
Questions/topics are in bold, Wenger’s comments are not. Enjoy.
Champions league draw
Pot number 2 we got what we expected. Maybe PSG is the favourite, they have big ambition, we want to qualify and finish first in the group. Ludogrets we don’t know a lot about them, if you like at Basel’s record against English teams you become cautious. We need to stay on our toes
We want to do well in this cup. A competition we’ve always played with younger players and will look to integrate young players
We have the same squad available as last week I think it will be a similar squad. We need our first win after Leicester. International break comes too soon, the players go away they are not ready to start for us because we had to rest for them. Not everyone is up to speed completely, we still have players who are a little bit behind.
Chris Coleman on Aaron Ramsey
He didn’t play the final or the semi final. He was out basically two weeks before Koscielny Giroud Ozil and needed preparation time
I believe he is a victim of the size of the squad. He’s at an age where he needs to play regularly. I don’t rule out that he comes back here and plays.
Lucas Perez and Shkodran Mustafi transfers
We are working on the deals. We are not close enough to announce for you today that they will sign for us. Will we sign anybody before the end of the transfer window? I am 99% confident
On the day I think maybe I am too optimistic but maybe we have done what we wanted before
I think what is more important is the position of the referees. Very often they are too close to a pass to get close to the ball. From corners there are often two or three fouls and the referee picks the most obvious one. In the past there were many attempts to clear that out and it never worked
Daniel Sturridge’s comments about being played out of position
I believe that to sign a contract with a club is first a social contract. To serve the best interests of the club if that corresponds with your own interests even better but the priority is to serve the club
[Would a loan transfer affect his] future? No. The fact that he could go out somewhere and play? Yes
They have a team with absolutely unlimited financial potential. They have bought really well but we want to challenge that. It’s a good test to play against PSG, let’s hope we can get a good result there. They have hit the headlines in the transfer market in the last 5/6 years.
Ligue 1 being a relatively easy league
It was a handicap for them, a bit like Bayern, they won the championship in January and to maintain the focus after is a bit difficult
They are the dominant team in Switzerland so they do what they want in their own country, they have good coaches in Switzerland and good youth development system and Basel especially has done some good scouting, Salah, Elneny come from Egypt where scouts don’t go much. They scouted in countries where there is a little less of a competitive edge than the big leagues
Four teams from England in Champions League
I like more on sport merit. The rules changed, I haven’t looked. The fact we have four teams in England is great
Transfer market in general
Honestly? It was a strange transfer market. I expected it to be easier than ever but it was more difficult than ever. Not a lot has happened. It looks like when you come out with an English passport you hit prices that are very hard to understand compare to the quality of the players. It will be frenetic in the last three days. Everybody sat on these pounds until now but they will splash out now. The next three days will be very very busy so be on alert!
Are transfers a distraction from Watford match?
Not for me, not for us. The priority is to get results and to win the next game. We have shot ourselves in our foot, we have to respond quickly. The other teams have made points
I rate him. He’s a player who has technical quality and is a fighter. To have these two together is not easy to find. Strong in the duels, challenges, and link play. I was impressed by him last year.
They were very efficient last year. The two strikers together, Ighalo and Deeney. One of the keys for us is to keep them quiet
We have a few who had good pre-season. Chris Willock, Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Chuba Akpom are the three who have been outstanding. Krystian Bielik as well has done extremely well and they could play.
He’s not far now, it’s a decision I have to make in the next 24 hours.
Still a little fraction behind physically
Transfers and fan’s happiness
I am happy when the fans are happy. My job is to make the right decisions. If that makes the supporters happy then that is even better. I focus first on making sure I make the right decisions for the club
When asked if this window dispels rumours that Wenger is tight with money
It’s a shame you aren’t my friend, you will see you go out with me I spend a lot of money.
More transfers to come?
We have a big squad. We are already short on the numbers now. We cannot have more players anymore. With Campbell going out and maybe Chambers going out on loan I think we will be alright.