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Mikel Arteta plays down John Stones interest but teases Arsenal transfer wishlist

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The Spanish coach has hinted that a loan for a defender could be on the agenda (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta has denied reports linking Arsenal with a move for John Stones but has hinted that injuries at centre-back could ‘modify’ the club’s transfer plans and he has a wishlist in mind.

The Gunners are believed to be keen to bring in a left-sided central defender on a short-term deal after Calum Chambers picked up an injury against Bournemouth, while Shkodran Mustafi is available to leave the club if a suitable offer is received.

Arteta knows Stones well from their time together at Manchester City, but the Arsenal boss is not plotting a reunion despite being open to strengthening his back-line.

Stones will not be moving to Arsenal despite Arteta being a big fan (Picture: Getty)

Asked for an update on any transfer business Arsenal are hoping to conduct this month, Arteta said at his pre-match press conference on Wednesday: ‘Bad news for you guys I have nothing to say yet.’

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Probed specifically on Stones, Arteta said there was ‘no truth at all’ in the speculation while he also denied any interest in AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie.

On Stones he added: ‘John is a player I really like. When I look at centre-backs he’s got many attributes I like but I’m not looking at him.’

Asked if Arsenal are looking short at the back – and whether they would address that in the January window – Arteta continued: ‘Yeah we have a lot of injuries at the back. The fact as well that Calum got the big injury. Obviously that is modifying our plans.

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‘It’s what we have, it’s the situation, this can happen. Between December and January it’s very common. We have to live with it, this is what we have.

‘We have to put 11 players out on the pitch on Saturday and I’m sure we will. They will try their best and I will try to select the ones that are in my opinion the best fit for the game.’

Chambers’ injury leaves Arsenal a little short in defence (Picture: Getty)

When it was put to him that he could fix those issues by raiding the transfer market, Arteta replied: ‘Yeah but it has to be the right player in the right context, that financially we can compete and we can attract, and all these factors to put them together is not easy in this market.’

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Pressed on whether he has a transfer wishlist of targets, he added smiling: ‘I have yes. You need to have one always just in case!’

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