Arsenal are unlikely to allow players to leave in the January transfer window as the club are short in some positions while they also have targets in mind for new recruits, manager Mikel Arteta said on Wednesday.

Arsenal were top of the Premier League at Christmas for a second straight season but unlike last term Arteta hopes to have more squad depth this time around after it proved to be their undoing in the title race with Manchester City.

“At the moment, it’s very difficult (to see anyone leaving in January), we are really short. We have positions where we’ve been exposed in the last few weeks,” Arteta told reporters ahead of Thursday’s home game against West Ham United.

“Hopefully we get players back. In what condition and when, that’s a question mark and we have some long-term injuries to players who give us versatility, that’s an issue.”

Arsenal spent over 200 million pounds ($255.54 million) in the close season to bring in new recruits such as Declan Rice and Kai Havertz but Arteta said the club may look at new signings if they find the right player.

“If there is something that can improve the squad, we’re always going to be open to do that,” he said.

“We have certain targets and ideas. We don’t know how the squad is going to look in two weeks’ time. We have to be always prepared for that. It’s a very tricky market that shifts very quickly and it’s quite unpredictable.”

Centre back Jurrien Timber and midfielder Fabio Vieira remain sidelined while Arteta confirmed that Japan defender Takehiro Tomiyasu and Ghana midfielder Thomas Partey are no closer to returns from injury.

“We’re not going to have those two. Then we have the suspension of Kai, so I think we’re going to have five players out, but we have lots of other players willing to play,” he said.

Tomiyasu and Partey may not be available for most of January and February due to Asian Cup and African Cup of Nations commitments respectively but Arteta said no date had been set on when they will be released by the club.

“There are some talks between the clubs and the federations. We haven’t decided when is best,” he said.

Source: Reuters

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