• Bid to sign striker reliant on Real Madrid buying Luis Suárez
• Manager coy over bringing in Mathieu Flamini on a free
Arsène Wenger says Arsenal must accept they do not have control over their push to make Real Madrid's Karim Benzema their big-name attacking signing, as it is reliant on the Spanish club being successful in their attempts to sign Liverpool's Luis Suárez.
Arsenal have already missed out on Suárez this summer after they were told about a supposed release clause in his contract and they tested it with a bid. Yet the clause was not binding and the £40,000,001 offer was rejected by Liverpool, leaving the advice that Wenger was given open to considerable question.
"I don't want to speak in detail about that," Wenger said. "It's not the moment. One day, why not? I've just said it's over. We have to get on with our lives. You seem to know as much as I know about the situation so I don't think we need for me to clarify that. You've certainly tried to go out with a girl and find she has chosen someone else. You don't commit suicide."
Wenger's dating analogy was a nod towards Real's anticipated bid for Suárez; the Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers, said on Thursday that he expected the Spanish club to make a move before the closure of the transfer window. Arsenal hope that Real are successful, as this could, in turn, allow them to sign Benzema, who is a long-time Wenger target. Suárez would like to join Real.
But Liverpool have made it clear they will not sell, especially at this late stage of the window, while Benzema does not want to leave Real. Liverpool's refusal to sell to Arsenal, in particular, was based on their not wanting to weaken themselves and strengthen a direct rival but they may reason that selling Suárez to Real and, potentially, then seeing Benzema join Arsenal would be tantamount to the same thing. In other words, the notion that it may be slightly more acceptable to sell Suárez to Real, if they absolutely had to lose him, does not bear scrutiny.
It has left Arsenal to live in hope and rely upon external factors, which feels a little unsettling. "That's part of the fact you need three agreements for anybody," Wenger said. "It's true that it is sometimes connected with other clubs. But we have to accept that."
Wenger and the chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, continue to work hard to supplement their one purchase so far – that of the French striker Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer from Auxerre. They are ready to make an improved offer of £17m to Newcastle United for the midfielder Yohan Cabaye while they have an interest in the Real winger Angel di María and the Valencia goalkeeper Vicente Guaita. Wenger remains confident that Arsenal will make the signings they need to give balance and strength to the squad.
"The desire of the players to join us makes me confident and the fact that we have some funds available to do the transfers," he said. "Look, many players want to join us because they know … even more so, all the players who have been here want to come back here.
"Don't worry, it's not for my face. It's just for the way we treat people and for the football we play or try to play. They find something here that they want to know again when they go somewhere else. Many, many, many players – believe me – ask to come back."
One of them is the club's former midfielder Mathieu Flamini, who Wenger is poised to take as a free agent, although his reluctance to confirm, at his Friday morning press conference, what would be another cheap piece of business appeared to betray a fear about the reaction of the fans. They are furious about the lack of cash signings, which they feel are essential if the team is to challenge for trophies. "I don't say there is no chance [on Flamini] and I don't say there is a chance," Wenger said.
He did, however, go on to discuss how Flamini, who has been training at the club for the past two weeks after his release from Milan, was extremely fit and had the required level. "Would he be ready to come back here? Certainly, yes."
The manager was generally upbeat, following Wednesday's 3-0 Champions League play-off first-leg win at Fenerbahce, which has all but guaranteed safe passage into the group phase of the competition to remove one potential obstacle for the purchase of high-quality signings.
"The Champions League is the needed requirement for the top players," Wenger said. "They say: 'OK, we want to join Arsenal. We want to play the kind of football you play. But, as well, we want to play in the Champions League.' It's unfortunately like that."
Wenger, though, warmed to a familiar theme when he lamented the importance that is attached to incoming signings. "It's 5% of the game," he said. Wenger is more concerned about extracting the maximum from his current squad and Saturday's Premier League fixture at Fulham.