Arsene Wenger is “99 per cent sure” that Arsenal will not make any last-minute signings in the transfer window – unless Lionel Messi becomes available.
The Gunners brought Mohamed Elneny to north London this month in what has proved to be an otherwise quiet January in the Premier League.
Wenger does not expect to be heavily involved on deadline day but admitted he cannot rule out last-minute deals should exceptional players suddenly become available.
“The whole period was much quieter than I expected,” he told the media. “I’m one of the few who has done more business. I told you we’d do at least one transfer, I’d have been open to one more but there’s a rarity of players on the market.
“A miracle can always happen. I’m 99 per cent sure [of no signings]. If Messi knocks at my door at ten to six, I won’t say ‘please go back to Barcelona’.”
Wenger confirmed Mathieu Debuchy and Serge Gnabry could both still leave on loan deals, with the France international likely to stay in the Premier League and Gnabry poised for a move to the Championship.
“Debuchy is still a possibility but, at the moment, it doesn’t look like it. It’s impossible to conclude a permanent move now,” he said.
“We have to decide today [on Gnabry]. It’s between two Championship clubs. I want to give him some competition because he didn’t play at West Brom.”
Wenger went on to refute rumours that Jack Wilshere has suffered a setback in his recovery from injury and says the England international could return within the next month, while Tomas Rosicky will undergo a scan on Monday.
“The only problem we have is Rosicky. It’s a thigh problem – how deep it is we don’t know, we’ll know much more after the scan today. The situation is quite positive,” he said.
“It’s wrong. He’s looking quite good, I must say,” he added when asked about the Wilshere report. “Overall I had a short chat with [England manager] Roy Hodgson and reassured him he is progressing well. I’m a bit cautious but I would say four weeks.”
Arsenal were thrashed 4-0 by Southampton in December and Wenger is looking for a response on Tuesday as they look to bounce back from a narrow defeat to Chelsea.
“They gave us a rough time at Southampton and we have an opportunity to put that right. It’s a big moment in the season, every game is important. We want to take advantage of the fact that we play at home,” said the 66-year-old.
“They were dominant in the duels and we came out of a very tough game with City. We were unlucky with three goals in terms of the decisions of the referee, but we don’t have to look for an excuse. Our performance on the day was not good enough.
“The defeat against Chelsea was very unlucky. Our energy level, our commitment, out quality was very good. There were a lot of positives.”