By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger believes Arsenal’s pursuit of Andrei Arshavin could go down to “the last minute on the final day of the transfer window”.

Speaking yesterday to Arsenal TV Online, the Arsenal manager expressed a desire to hammer out a decision before Saturday’s home game with West Ham. However, on the strength of his press conference on Friday, that seems highly unlikely to happen.

Wenger denied that the Club has obtained a work permit for the 27-year-old Russian and remained enigmatic when asked how close he was to concluding a deal.

“Whether we are close or not has little meaning - it does not matter how close you are, what is important is that you agree,” he said.

“At the moment, we have no agreement with anybody for any transfer. We are always confident, we try our best but we respect our budget.

"If we can find an agreement, we will do it, if we cannot we will not overspend what we have planned to do.

“But we have not applied for a work permit yet for anybody. Not for Arshavin or anybody else.

"These kind of stories sometimes develop in the last minute on the final day of the transfer window. It is very difficult to predict.

"I can only give you the way we think on our side. I cannot give you what other people think."

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30 Jan 2009