Wenger: No rush to buy replacement for Giroud
ARSENE Wenger confirmed that Olivier Giroud is expected to be out until at least December with an ankle injury, but the Arsenal manager stressed he was in no rush to buy another forward.
Giroud, 27, who was Arsenal's top scorer last season with 22 goals in all competitions, is expected to be out for up to four months following surgery on the ankle he injured during Saturday's 2-2 draw at Everton in the Premier League.
"Olivier Giroud had surgery today (Wednesday)," Wenger told Sky Sports after Arsenal reached the Champions League group stage for the 17th consecutive season with a 1-0 win over Besiktas in the second leg of their playoff.
"It went well, but he will be out...(He will not) be at his top competitive level until the end of December or beginning of January."
Arsenal signed Chile forward Alexis Sanchez for £35 million (S$72 million) from Barcelona last month and, despite playing for most of his career as a winger, Wenger said he considered the 25-year-old to be a forward.
The manager said Giroud's absence would be the ideal moment for Sanchez to showcase his ability to lead the line. Asked if Sanchez could play at centre-forward during Giroud's absence, Wenger replied: "For three or four months? He can play his whole life at centre-forward.
"I bought him to play striker, not to play only on the flanks."
Sanchez scored the only goal of the game against Besiktas at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday, but Wenger said that he did not see the 25-year-old's strike as the first repayment on his hefty fee.
"I don't see it like that," said the Frenchman. "He had a good game, not only on the technical side, but on the fighting side. He was mobile, dangerous and showed as well that he has great fighting spirit; qualities that will be very important in the Premier League."
The Frenchman had previously said that the Gunners were unlikely to sign any more forwards on a permanent basis, and would consider loan signings only if they enhanced his attacking options.
"We will look around, but we want quality. We have quality," he said, while dismissing links with Manchester United forward Danny Welbeck, Serbian striker Nikola Zigic, former Arsenal midfielder Alex Song and Monaco's prolific Colombian striker Radamel Falcao.
"Any time you have a problem you can't always buy. If you have an injury after Sept 1, you still have to live with it.
"I bought Sanchez to be a striker, Theo Walcott can be a very good striker, (Lukas) Podolski can play there, (Yaya) Sanogo is a very good striker, (Joel) Campbell, if you ask him what he is, he says a striker. They are all players of quality.
"To find players better than we have would be very difficult."