Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted he wanted to sign Bolton defender Gary Cahill during the transfer window, but believes Per Mertesacker will be just as useful.
Cahill was the subject of intense speculation for much of the summer and was linked with a move to the Emirates. Nothing materialized, but the Gunners boss is content with the signing of the Germany international.
“I don’t want to compare [Mertesacker and Cahill] and I like Cahill as a player so both are good players," Wenger said. “Mertesacker is a good player, has more experience, more international experience. Cahill is a young, promising English player. Both would have done well for us, we would have accepted both.”
The Frenchman also had some words of encouragement for two of his other new players Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun, believing that both players will make a big impact at the Emirates stadium.
“I expect him [Arteta] to have an immediate impact and Benayoun as well because they are players that I rate highly for their technical qualities," said Wenger. “For me they are mobile and technically gifted and that’s the game that we want to play so they should integrate well into the team."
Wenger went on to talk about the strength of his team this year, pointing out that although the club have lost Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, he believes the squad is stronger on the whole.
“The squad is stronger,” he claimed. “If you look at the squad we have now and imagine that in midfield Wilshere and Diaby coming back, plus the players like Vermaelen will come back soon.
“I think we have a more mature squad. Fabregas and Nasri are mature now because they are 24 but that’s the quality of the players that we wanted who were available. So the age was not a priority for me."
Wenger also gave an update on Jack Wilshere’s injury situation, but it still looks as though the England international will be missing from first-team duties for around two months.
“He has an inflamed bone. He will be one month in a boot and we'll see how he responds after that. We have got the best specialists in the world to assess his case because it is an unusual one," Wenger said.