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ESPN FC Posted by ESPN staff
Jan, 3, 2013

Wenger: Arsenal fans want Messi

Arsene Wenger admits he is under pressure to sign big-name players, claiming Arsenal supporters will not be happy unless the club brings in someone of Lionel Messi's status in January.

The spotlight was back on Arsene Wenger at Valley Parade
Arsene Wenger's transfer activity is in the spotlight

Wenger has been linked with a £10 million bid for Atletico Madrid striker Adrian Lopez, while Crystal Palace's 21-year-old England international Wilfried Zaha and Schalke midfielder Lewis Holtby are others understood to be on Wenger's radar.

However, while he is keeping one eye on the future, the Gunners manager is aware that fans are demanding to see players who can deliver immediate results.

"It is very difficult because the level of expectation is very high - people want to see Lionel Messi come in, they don't want to see a promising guy," said Wenger.

"First of all the name gives hope. When a guy has no name people are already sceptical, so it's much more difficult for us."

Wenger also revealed he made a straight choice between signing Demba Ba or Olivier Giroud last summer and insists he has no regrets about opting for the Frenchman.

"I like Demba Ba, but he is a similar type to Giroud who we just bought and it was one or other that we had to decide on," admitted Wenger, who went on to give a positive slant on suggestions that Senegal striker may struggle to pass a medical due to his long-standing knee issue.

"I've heard different kind of vibes coming out about Ba's injury. Somebody told me that what he has is manageable. He didn’t manage to pass a medical at Stoke, but I’m sure Chelsea will have a check on him. I hear his problem is not as big as people say."

Wenger went on to admit his drive to sign new players in this January transfer window may not be as easy as it was for him back when he first arrived at Arsenal back in 1996, when his network of scouts placed him a step ahead of many of his Premier League rivals in the race to sign the best overseas talent.

"The quality of scouting has improved and that is a big difference from when I first came to England," he added. "The country where we were really, really competitive when I first came here was of course France. They produce less players than they did 10, 15 years ago at top, top, top level in France.

"The emerging countries that are producing players look to be Germany and Spain, they have taken over. Sometimes when you are at a big club your scouts are a bit more cautious because they think, 'Oh, it is Arsenal, so it has to be a top-four player'. That is a problem for us sometimes because smaller clubs can take more of a risk sometimes."

Meanwhile, reports claim Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh may be set for a shock loan move to London rivals West Ham, after Gunners boss Wenger confirmed last month that he expects his out-of-favour striker to move on in the January transfer window.

Chamakh has scored just eight goals in 40 Premier League appearances for the north London giants, with his missed penalty in their embarrassing Capital One Cup exit at Bradford last month apparently ending his hopes of reviving his Arsenal career.

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