Arsène Wenger has said Arsenal’s hopes this season do not rest on signing a striker before the closure of the transfer window on Monday night, even though he has lost his main forward, Olivier Giroud, to a fractured tibia until the new year.

The pressure on Wenger to add more firepower to his squad increased after the extent of Giroud’s injury was confirmed and it would be seen as an unnecessary risk for Arsenal not to recruit a forward. Given that Yaya Sanogo and Joel Campbell are yet to prove themselves at the highest level and Wenger does not believe that Lukas Podolski is suited to being the focal point of his attack, there does not appear to be much of an argument against Arsenal signing another striker.

Wenger did not rule it out entirely and he dropped occasional hints that he is not finished in the transfer market. Arsenal have been linked with a loan move for Monaco’s Radamel Falcao, who would cost around £20m in fees and wages, and a £16m move for Manchester United’s Danny Welbeck, while Wenger said that he expects to be conducting business on deadline day “until the final minute”.

However it is more likely that he will look to bring in a defender or a defensive midfielder and it was typical of Wenger that he should throw his support behind Sanogo and Campbell when it was put to him that a world-class signing could make the difference for Arsenal.

“He can, yes, but I can give you as well many counter examples, players who have been bought mid-season for a huge amount of money and did not make a difference,” Wenger said. “The most important [thing] is the balance of the team because the balance of the team can depend on one player. And of course if you can find that player, it can help.

“Today we are in a position sometimes, if you always buy, you can never give a chance to a player. We take now the example of Calum Chambers. Calum Chambers played centre-back because I gave him the chance to play centre-back. If I had four centre-backs already because I had bought four, I would never have played him. And he would sit on the bench and play in the youth team.

“That balance has to be right inside the club between buying what is right to make the squad stronger but as well keep the chance to give opportunities to people who deserve it. And it’s not easy today because every time you have an injured player, nobody asks do you give a chance to Chuba Akpom, for example. No, it’s buy a player. Nobody wants to give an opportunity to everybody. My job is to be careful about that and also think ‘no, we have a player who can do it’.”

Wenger was giving little away on transfers but he admitted that he would have to sell someone if he makes a new signing. “If we buy somebody, somebody will go because we have too many players. We have too many strikers.”

It remains to be seen if Wenger would be ready to gamble on Falcao. The Colombian forward’s pedigree is not in doubt but he is 28 and recovering from the knee injury that kept him out of the World Cup. He would also not be cheap. Wenger would have reservations about spending so much on a player for a season-long loan.

There is intrigue about Welbeck, too, but it could be difficult for Arsenal to persuade United to sell the 23-year-old to a rival, while Wenger is unconvinced by the QPR forward Loïc Rémy whose contract includes a buy-out clause for £8.5m.

Wenger added that Alexis Sánchez, whose goal against Besiktas on Wednesday secured Arsenal’s place in the Champions League, can play through the middle, but his praise for Podolski, who has been targeted by Juventus, was full of caveats.

“He can score goals,” Wenger said. “He’s not a real centre-forward, he’s a striker on the flank or behind the striker but he’s not the target man. He has a role to play but at the moment the experiences we had when he was a target man, he likes to come to the ball. He is not the guy who likes to go too much behind, he likes to come to the ball. He’s a very good link player. At the moment I see more Sanogo, Sánchez, players who are really good at going in behind. Not Podolski.”