Arsene Wenger: Arsenal have the “best player” at the Afcon

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Arsenal tried desperately to get some new faces into the squad during the January transfer window but could not pull it off, but they have the best “best player” of the Africa Cup of Nations to arrive soon.

That is according to Gunners manager Arsene Wenger, whom admitted to trying to add to the signing of Malaga left-back Nacho Monreal but claimed it was too difficult.

The Frenchman also pointed out that the Emirates Stadium outfit were not the only big Premier League club to spend little in the winter window.

None of Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham made any significant purchases.

“We worked very hard on it, we were everywhere. I would have loved to take somebody else but we didn't find anyone,” he told reporters on Saturday.

“Manchester United, who did they buy? Chelsea, who did they buy? Liverpool bought. Man City didn't buy – for one single reason. 

“For the top, top, top clubs, it's difficult to strengthen your team in the middle of the season.”

Asked whether Arsenal would be doing any scouting at the Afcon, Wenger claimed the Gunners had no need to go out there and are already in possession of the tournament’s most impressive player.

“In the Africa Cup of Nations, the best player is Gervinho. It's simple. Why should we go there when the best player is Gervinho? We already have Gervinho,” he replied.

Whether all Arsenal fans would agree with that statement is debateable, but Gervinho was top scorer for Ivory Coast, who crashed out at the quarter-final stage against Nigeria on Sunday.

The former Lille winger has struggled for form in an Arsenal shirt this season but his personal success at Afcon may help him recover some lost confidence.

The pressure is not so high at the Emirates Stadium now, however, as the front three of Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott are producing well for the moment.

Gervinho will have a chance to ease himself back into things at Arsenal and may benefit from more of a bit-part role to begin with.

New boy Monreal was handed his first start on Saturday against Stoke City, just two days after joining the Gunners.

The Spain international looked solid as a late Lukas Podolski deflected free-kick gave Wenger’s side the win.

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