Arsenal have not made a move for Dimitar Berbatov or Paul-Georges Ntep this winter despite reports linking both forwards with a switch to North London.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger addressed the rumours in Friday's press conference, according to the club's official website:
The Mirror's John Cross noted from the same press conference:
#afc Wenger says he rates Berbatov highly but says no approach and nor will there be— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) January 17, 2014
Simon Rice of the Independent had earlier reported a Fulham spokesperson saying that "no contact has been made" regarding the services of their Bulgarian attacker, while Auxerre president Guy Cotret insists a deal hasn't been cut to sell Ntep.
Per the Daily Star's Colin Harvey, Cotret states: "It's nothing. There is no agreement with Arsenal. There is nothing at all. Arsenal has not even expressed an interest in our club. We just received an offer for the player and it was Rennes."
Goal.com's Wayne Veysey backs up recent reports saying that no interest is held in Berbatov:
Told no interest from Arsenal in signing Berbatov. They're looking at other January short-term striker deals as alternative to Draxler.— Wayne Veysey (@wayneveysey) January 16, 2014
Arsenal's need for added firepower in attack has led to sources suggesting the club have their eyes on targets both young and old this winter, with Ntep and Berbatov representing two particular assets at opposite ends of their careers.
The 21-year-old Auxerre starlet has scored 10 goals in 20 starts for his Ligue 2 side this term, per Transfermarkt, earning him some glowing reports in his native France.
Meanwhile, Berbatov has grabbed four goals from 16 Premier League outings, per Transfermarkt.
Furthermore, per Rice's report, the Bulgarian has been alleged to be looking for the Craven Cottage exit this month.
It will also be a chance for Berbatov, whose contract runs out at the end of the season, to show off his talents. However, Meulensteen insists the 32-year-old will be focused on his current club.
Meanwhile, the Mirror's Cross isn't entirely convinced by the veteran's credentials:
Any team goes down with Stockdale in goal. And you don't go to war with Berbatov.— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) January 11, 2014
Olivier Giroud has taken the brunt of the striking responsibilities under Wenger this season, and appeared to have found a slightly surprising source of cover following an upward turn in form from the returned Nicklas Bendtner.
Would Berbatov be a worthwhile investment for Wenger's side this month?
However, after scoring two goals in his eight league appearances—only one of which was a start—the Danish international picked up an injury and is out until February.
What's more, Wenger's hopes of maintaining a rampage toward the Premier League title were rocked after Theo Walcott suffered a season-ending knee injury that's set to keep him out of the World Cup, per BBC Sport.
Arsenal have a dilemma on their hands in terms of what to target. On one hand, a splurge on the same scale as Mesut Ozil's £42.5 million arrival could ensure that their hunt for silverware goes to plan, but the winter period is notorious for its lack of market value.
On the other, the North Londoners could organise a short-term deal. However, any asset brought in by these means is likely to provide little more than cover, putting the season's title hopes at bigger risk.
As the most experienced manager in the division, Wenger is undoubtedly one of the best men for the job in terms of coping with the conundrum. However, it's still a lot of pressure for the Frenchman to cope with as the timer ticks down on Arsenal's recruitment chances.