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By ESPN Staff
Mar 23, 2012

Wenger to gamble on right player

Arsene Wenger is prepared to gamble on the right player this summer when he targets quality rather than quantity to strengthen Arsenal's squad.

Wenger also denied that Germany striker Lukas Podolski is close to joining the Gunners in an £11million deal having undergone a medical.

"Quantity-wise we will not do a lot. Quality-wise certainly, and we will take a gamble if we find top, top quality of course,'' he said.

"The number of the squad is 25. We have many players out on loan and we have not had Jack Wilshere or Abou Diaby for the whole season. These players will be back and that means number and quality wise we are strong because we are now in the position we are in without these players."

Wenger shed little light on the timing of Podolski's arrival and stressed he would like to avoid the final-day flurry of activity that marked Arsenal's transfer business last summer.

"Nothing is done. It could happen soon, it could happen later, I don't know," he said. "Last year was terrible for us because we finished on the 31st August at 11.55pm and we do not want to repeat that."

Another topic that Wenger was keen to discuss was former-Arsenal youngster Fabrice Muamba, who is currently recovering well from his cardiac arrest whilst playing for Bolton in the FA Cup last Saturday.

Muamba was sold to Birmingham in 2007 after spending two seasons at the Emirates Stadium and Wenger insisted the 23-year-old midfielder always possessed a fighting spirit.

"Over the years we have stayed in touch with Fabrice. Against us, he was always very keen to prove that we made a mistake in letting him go. He was always outstanding against us and I hope he will do that again soon.

"Hopefully one day we will have the joy to see him on the football pitch again. It was obvious he was a fighter. Technically he was behind when he arrived here.

"But when you looked at him, you would think 'oh, there is something to work on here' and that was his huge determination and desire. I let him go for two reasons. The first one is that he had big players in front of him and it was very difficult to take them out and put Fabrice in at the time.

"And the second reason is that he is so highly motivated that I felt he was ready to play and needed to play. There always comes a moment in the career of a player that you play him now or you let him go. I let him go for his benefit. He understood that very well."

Arsenal are seeking their seventh successive Barclays Premier League win when they host Aston Villa on Saturday. Arsenal moved into third place with a midweek victory over Everton, but Wenger insists there is a long way to go.

"Third is better than fourth, but if you have no choice, you take fourth and the opportunity. Let's see how it goes now," he said.

"I believe Newcastle are still in the fight, as are Tottenham and Chelsea. Liverpool are maybe too far off, but you never know."

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