Arsenal’s Wenger denies interest in Berbatov

Arsenal's Arsene Wenger will wait to discover the extent of Danish forward Nicklas Bendtner's ankle injury before deciding whether to bring in another striker for the team during the January transfer window, but says Bulgarian Dimitar Berbatov is not currently on his list of possible replacements.

The English Premier League leaders will host north London rivals Tottenham in the FA Cup third round on Saturday with a selection headache in attack.

Lead frontman Olivier Giroud of France missed the 2-0 win over Cardiff on New Year's Day because of an ankle problem and has now been hit with illness.

Bendtner came off the bench to score with just two minutes left of the game, but sprained his ankle when putting the ball past Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall. The club are waiting on the results of a scan for a more detailed diagnosis.

Considering options
Wenger openly admits Arsenal will not rule out a move for a top-calibre player should the opportunity arise this month, but he was guarded on 32-year-old Berbatov.

"He [Berbatov] is not a name that we have considered at the moment. We have not even been out on the transfer market, we have not contacted anybody," Wenger said.

"We are just analysing the situation, being very cautious until we are well informed about Bendtner and [Yaya] Sanogo as well, because he is back in training now. We will make a decision after that."

Wenger said it would depend "on how long he [Bendtner] will be out for".

"But I don't want to go into any speculation on any specific name because that would not help where the player plays at the moment and would be disrespectful to the player's club.

"At the moment we are just considering our options.

"I must confess they are quite restricted; in the way that the players available can strengthen our squad are not on the road, they are all under contract, most of the clubs are in competitions where they need their best players.

"I don't rule anything out, but first I have to assess well our internal situations with the injuries and the players coming back."

Press reports in Britain have linked Arsenal strongly with a move for Atletico Madrid's Brazilian-born striker Diego Costa, scorer of 19 goals in 17 games this season, and are said to be ready to trigger the £32-million buy-out clause in his contract. – Sapa-AFP

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