Papers say Arsenal will sign one defender: what Wenger says sounds different

By Graham McNorthbank

As you'll see from our newspaper round-up today, most of the dailies are running with the news that Arsene Wenger is looking to bring in one player to bolster Arsenal's shaky defence.

However, if you look at what Le Gaffer actually said yesterday, you can read it another way - that he intends to bring in a number of players to shore up at the back.

Here is what Wenger said:

''My transfer policy this summer will be to keep our strengths going forward, add one player, and add more defensive strength to our team.''

Now correct me if I am wrong, but to me that means one player in attack - probably Chamakh - but he doesn't specify the number of defensively minded players.

Adding more defensive strength to the team, for me, could and should start with the last line of defence, the keeper. Over the past few days we've seen names such as Buffon, Akinfeev and Hart bandied around in the press as potential custodians of the No.1 shirt.

We've also been linked with a whole host of other players, but interestingly the only ones that the official Arsenal website has mentioned to date are Buffon, Yaya Toure, Sean Wright Phillips and Mikel Arteta.

Personally I think any of those players would be a welcome addition to the Gunners' first team squad, so we can but hope.

One caveat is that Yaya would reportedly be part of a player plus cash swap with Barcelona for the services of skipper Cesc Fabregas and of course the rumour mill over Cesc's future has inevitably started again.

However, I stick by my belief that Fab4 will remain an Arsenal player for at least one more season and I'm hoping that the reports of Cesc and girlfriend Carla buying a new house in St Alban's are true, as that wouldn't exactly signal a move back to Spain.

Anyway, back to the matter in hand.

Wenger's comments about shoring up the defence also include a line about conceding 41 goals and that not being good enough to win the title. Now I remember he said the same thing a season ago about 37 goals, so if he's the great statistician we're all led to believe, some defensive strength is a must if we are to improve.

Also, bear in mind that last season we saw Kolo Toure sold and Phil Senderos toddle off for another season on loan. In came Thomas Vermaelen and Mikael Silvestre to replace them and that wasn't enough.

So if this season we're potentially losing William Gallas, hopefully Silvestre and maybe Sol Campbell, I'd assume that Le Prof would automatically be looking for more than one centre back.

Bear in mind that defence doesn't just include our back four. A player to provide Alex Song competition for the defensive midfield role would be ideal and if Yaya is as unhappy at Barca
as his agent makes out, then just maybe something will happen there.

As always, Arsenal will remain frustratingly quiet until any deal is signed, sealed and delivered, which is why it's such a surprise to see transfer rumours being posted on the official site.

For what it's worth, here's what I reckon will happen during the next three months: Chamakh and one other player - probably a defender will be signed prior to the World Cup. With Wenger fulfillling his TV obligations, nothing will happen during the tournament, but Ivan Gazidis will be working behind the scenes on deals and may even be in his native South Africa with the Arsenal cheque book to line up other faces when the tournament is over.

However I think it will boil down to two defenders, a goalkeeper, one midfielder and Chamakh up front - and that will depend on a similar number of fringe players exiting the club to free up the necessary funds in the wage structure.

Radical surgery is not needed at Arsenal, but replacing players who are not making the grade with talent that is good enough to merit a first team start is essential if we are going to have any chance of climbing the table by the required couple of places next season.