January 28, 2019 / 3:51 PM / 19 days ago

Arsenal trying to sign two players in January - Emery

(Reuters) - Arsenal are negotiating to sign two players before the transfer window closes on Thursday, but manager Unai Emery says they are not in the market for a defender despite a host of injuries to his back line.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - FA Cup Fourth Round - Arsenal v Manchester United - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - January 25, 2019 Arsenal manager Unai Emery REUTERS/Hannah McKay

The London club have been linked with a move for Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic, with Italian and British reporting that the 29-year-old Croatia international has handed in a transfer request.

Barcelona winger Denis Suarez is the other player linked with the Emirates Stadium.

“We are looking at two different players and the possibility they can come,” Emery told a news conference on Monday ahead of Tuesday’s Premier League game against Cardiff City.

“This transfer window is not easy and the message is the club is working on different players and the possibility if it can be is good for us.”

Centre back Sokratis Papastathopoulos faces a spell on the sidelines due to an ankle injury and fellow defender Laurent Koscielny has bruised his jaw. Full back Hector Bellerin and central defender Rob Holding have long-term knee injuries.

Emery said he did not want to sign defensive cover because it would lead to problems when his injured players returned to fitness.

“We have enough players, centre-backs in the squad,” he said. “We’re having a lot of injuries and a lot in this position. If we can bring another player and when all the players want to play we can have a lot of trouble in future.”

Arsenal, fifth in the league and three points behind Chelsea in fourth, were knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United on Friday.

Emery said the cup exit would allow his team to put all their efforts into qualifying for the Champions League.

“Our focus now is very clear - the Premier League,” he added. “We’re also going to play the Europa League with big motivation. It’s one way to the Champions League.”

Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond

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