Wenger keen to end Gunners transfer talk

Manager Arsene Wenger wants everyone at Arsenal to forget about possible January transfers and instead concentrate on beating Aston Villa to stay top of the table.

Arsene Wenger

The Gunners may well be on the look out for some attacking cover following a serious knee injury which has ruled England forward Theo Walcott out for the rest of the season and the World Cup, but Wenger has moved to play down suggestions a loan deal was in the pipeline for Real Madrid starlet Alvaro Morata.

Arsenal have also been linked with Fulham veteran Dimitar Berbatov, as well as a big-money transfer for Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa.

Wenger, however, continues to stress all the headlines will not help the XI he sends out at Villa Park on Monday night, by which time both title rivals Chelsea and Manchester City could have gone above Arsenal.

"I do not want to speak about any specific names. For us it is important to prepare well and to win the game on Monday night," said Wenger.

"The people who are in the newspapers do not help us to win the game on Monday night. It is the players who play here.

"Nothing has changed because we are open to a possible solution and if something interesting turns up we will do it.

"It could be a loan as well yes, but we are not in talks with Real about anybody."

Wenger happily admits he could do without the madness of the mid-season transfer window altogether.

"The transfer market is a distraction that for me is not welcome," he said.

"I think it would be much better that there is no transfer market at all in January and the team starts and finishes with the same players would be fair unless you have big injuries.

"For the rest, what is important is that we focus on the quality of our performances because it's a period that is very sensitive at the moment and every game is now a massive game."

Wenger believes Walcott's character can see him recover from another personal setback, having not been selected for the 2010 World Cup by then England boss Fabio Capello.

On a positive note for Arsenal this week, midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made his own return from a serious knee injury when he played the first half of the Under-21s fixture against Fulham on Thursday night.

The 20-year-old, who also harbours World Cup ambitions with England this summer, could be back on the bench at Villa Park facing the team against which he suffered the injury on the opening day of the Premier League season back in August.

"What is the most important thing is that he played and came through well, then we will see how he is. But he's been out for five months, it takes some time to play in the Premier League," said Wenger.

"It is good of course to have him back, but he and Walcott are different types of players.

"Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a bit more of a midfielder and Walcott is more a striker type. One doesn't compensate the other one because they are different players."

Oxlade-Chamberlain, meanwhile, will take things steady as he aims for a successful end to the season with both club and country.

"It was the first match I've played in five months, so it was more about getting the minutes under my belt and getting used to being back on a football pitch," Oxlade-Chamberlain told Arsenal Player.

"On the ball I know I can do a lot better than that, but it takes a few weeks, maybe even a month, to get back to your full sharpness.

"Obviously I wasn't at my full fitness and it was quite hard, but the main thing was that I got through it and that is a positive. It is just really good to be back."

Oxlade-Chamberlain added: "It is never easy having an injury, especially when it is your first long-term one, because you are not used to it and not sure how it will pan out.

"When I look back it is been a good learning curve, but at the same time it is somewhere you don't want to be.

"I am just thankful that I got through it and I will look to push on from here."



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