By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger admits that he faces a dilemma when the transfer window swings open on Friday.

The Arsenal manager told Arsenal TV Online last month that he could enter the market to find a replacement for Robin van Persie, who could miss the rest of the season with ankle ligament damage. Wenger's need for attacking reinforcements became even more pressing when Nicklas Bendtner's lengthy lay-off was extended to mid-January thanks to a persistent groin injury.

Theo Walcott completes a trio of strikers on the sidelines but, although Arsenal's treatment room remains busy, the goals have flowed on the pitch. Wenger's side have scored 15 times in six Premier League games in December, taking 16 points from a possible 18 to rein in the leaders, Chelsea.

The manager is still on the look-out for new recruits but recent evidence suggests that Arsenal are coping rather well without their absentees.

"It's not completely rational, football," said Wenger. "The superficial rationality is not the real one sometimes.

"It’s true that we have problems with our strikers. Even I say that. Everybody tells me to buy strikers, but when I look at the League, nobody has scored more goals than us.

"We have players who move the ball well and everybody gets in dangerous positions. And that’s why, with the confidence high, everyone can score goals. But we are still in the market."

Arsenal fans will be watching Wenger's transfer-market manoeuvres with great interest over the next month. But if the Frenchman does bring in a new signing, he will certainly not break the bank.

"The rules in professional football are to win and balance the budget," said Wenger. "That's the basic rule, and I always did fight for that. All the rest is half-cheating.

"I don't speak about what's happened here, but that's what I'm for. For every club it has to be the same: for everybody. I always pleaded for financial fair play.”

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31 Dec 2009