Arsene Wenger refused to be drawn on a reported pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain’s Adrien Rabiot amid intense speculation that Arsenal are close to finalising a deal for the highly-rated French teenager.
It was claimed on Thursday that Rabiot’s agent has been in London to conclude his client’s transfer to the Emirates Stadium, with Arsenal expected to pay £11.9 million to sign the midfielder with the deadline next week.
With Wenger attending his weekly press conference ahead of the encounter with Leicester City on Sunday, the Arsenal manager was asked directly to comment on suggestions that Rabiot will be his latest summer signing.
His response, however, was succinct: “I just put one answer: I don't tell you.”
Should the 19-year-old arrive at the Emirates Stadium he will become the fifth acquisition of this transfer window, and would plug at least one of the remaining holes in Wenger’s squad.
Wenger has already spent around £60 million on the signings of Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy, David Ospina and Calum Chambers, but defence, midfield and up front do all appear to be areas of concern.
Although Rabiot may not be the marquee central midfielder Gunners supporters would have been hoping for, he does at least offer a natural defensive option while it is likely Wenger also considers the France under-21 international as an emergency centre-back.
But the area of most interest for the press and fans at least is the goalscoring department, with the long-term injury sustained by Olivier Giroud resulting in reports of a pursuit of another striker.
Radamel Falcao, Edinson Cavani and Loic Remy have all been mentioned as a potential targets and, although Wenger confirms he will remain in the market until the death, the Frenchman does not appear to feel another centre-forward is required.
“I will be actively involved but on the last day of the window,” he said.
“I will of course be on alert until the last minute of the transfer deadline. You (the media) have decided that I have to buy strikers - I have not necessarily decided that!
“Once again all the negotiations have to be as secret as possible and if we sign somebody, even if we sign Falcao, you will be informed.
”If I give you the number of strikers I have at the moment it's absolutely unbelievable.
"We have Sanogo, Sanchez, we have Walcott, we have Podolski, we have Giroud who will come back during the season and I forget maybe one or two. Campbell can play centre forward as well and of course we can be successful."