Arsenal won't sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this month - Wenger
LONDON -- Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has ruled out the possibility of signing Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang during the January transfer window, and insisted he wants Theo Walcott to stay at the club.
Aubameyang has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Alexis Sanchez if the Chile international is sold this month, but Wenger rubbished those claims in a news conference on Friday.
"No, it's not a possibility," he said. Arsenal made their first signing of the transfer window when they completed a £2 million deal for young Greek defender Konstantinos Mavropanos from PAS Giannina.
Wenger reiterated, though, that Mavropanos will need to gain experience on loan before he's ready to fight for a place in Arsenal's team.
"He's with us [now], yes. The plan is that he goes out on loan to play somewhere," Wenger said. "It can be a German club. I prefer him to play at the top level and gains experience.
"He's 20 years old, so for a central defender he's not ready to start for us. So it's important he gains experience."
Walcott has been linked with a move away from Arsenal after failing to start a single Premier League game this season, with a return to his former team Southampton seen as the most likely option.
But Wenger said he wants to keep the winger, who is Arsenal's longest-serving player after joining as a teenager in 2016.
"I want him to stay. I heard about that [the Southampton links] yes, but personally I want him to stay," he said.
Walcott is likely to start in Sunday's FA Cup third round game at Nottingham Forest, as Wenger confirmed he will rotate his squad after the hectic holiday fixture schedule.
Granit Xhaka has been added to Arsenal's growing injury list, joining the likes of Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal, Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey. The injuries will limit Wenger's defensive options at Forest, but he is likely to rest attacking stars like Mesut Ozil and Sanchez.
"I will rotate a little bit because we come out of a very highly loaded period," he said. "We have to keep our level of focus and urgency because the third round is always very difficult, especially when you play away from home against a Championship team.
"And we play on Wednesday again, so we have to rotate a little bit."
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.