Press conference

Wenger on Giroud, Walcott and the transfer window

By Arsene Wenger's own admission, January was a "very difficult month" with the amount of transfer activity and scrutiny on the club.

The Arsenal manager ended it on a high by signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and this is what he told the media at Friday's press conference:
 on how relieved he is the transfer window is over…
It of course allows you to focus again on competition. It was a bit disturbing because we were very active in people going out, people coming in. If you look at the amount of movements that we had, you’d understand that it was quite disturbing. It demanded a lot of focus and energy. Overall, I believe that it finished well.
 on end of January being an emotional rollercoaster…
It has been, because we lost a game that we should not have lost. Overall, January was a very difficult month for us. As much as it was disappointing on the pitch, I felt that on the transfer side it worked well for us and that’s what we have to show now on the pitch in the coming weeks. We have no room for any defeats anymore. It’s very important that we respond very quickly.

on Olivier Giroud…
He’s massively popular inside our dressing room and inside our club as well. It was sad to see all the players who left go. Olivier wanted more playing time. He has not played many Premier League games and he also wants to go to the World Cup. That’s why I opened the door when Aubameyang came in for him, to give him a chance to get the competition he deserves.
 on why he allowed Olivier Giroud to go to a rival Premier League club…
As I just told you, first of all I think ideally you want him to go to clubs who do not compete with you. On the other hand, it was a bit linked with the Aubameyang deal as well. He wanted to stay [in London] because he’s just had a third baby. It was very difficult from the family side for him to leave London. All this and the fact that we owe Olivier Giroud a lot. His commitment, his dedication and love for the club was absolutely exceptional. It was difficult to turn it down just because it was an opponent, a competitive club.

06:09

'It's the best goal I will ever score'

on if he regrets not getting a defender…
Yes, because our defensive numbers are not good enough and that’s where we needed some possible strengthening as well. We have to improve our defensive numbers. We want to go in the top four. We have to improve our offensive numbers and defensive numbers.
 on a late bid for Jonny Evans and strengthening the defence…
I already  talked about that and I believe we have to find an internal solution to our defensive problems, and that means everyone putting more effort in. But overall I am happy with the way things went in the transfer market.
 on finding an effective holding midfielder…
I don’t want to come out on any specific names - I think not is more of a team problem and a responsibility problem. Take individual responsibility for your defensive role.

on if he’ll go back to a back four now…
That’s a possibility. I will adapt, as I told you many times, to the difficulty we face. I will have to see as well how the idea I have works and how efficient it is. But we are flexible on the organisational front. We can play in a three, in a four. That can change game by game.

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