Wenger: No Stokes deal yet
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Arsene Wenger has denied that Charlton have struck a deal for Anthony Stokes.
Arsene Wenger has denied that Charlton have struck a deal for Anthony Stokes, but the young Irish striker will be leaving Emirates Stadium in January.
The teenager is in high demand after topping the SPL goalscoring charts in the first half of the season with Falkirk and has returned to North London to deliberate over his future.
New Charlton boss Alan Pardew is hoping to bring the Republic of Ireland B international to The Valley, but Celtic and Sunderland are also believed to be interested in securing the services of the prolific striker.
Now Wenger has confirmed that The Addicks are yet to clinch a deal for Stokes, with his final destination - possibly in a permanent deal - down to the young hot-shot.
"Nothing is decided [with Charlton] because there are some other clubs in for him," said Wenger to the club's official website.
"In the end it will be Stokes who makes the choice.
"Whether it is a permanent deal or a loan has not been decided either. It could just be a loan because he has done very well.
"It was a difficult decision but we have a congestion of strikers. We have [Arturo] Lupoli, [Nicklas] Bendtner, we have [Jeremie] Aliadiere, we have [Julio] Baptista, [Robin] van Persie, [Emmanuel] Adebayor and [Thierry] Henry.
"At some stage it is unfair to stop somebody because there is too much congestion in front of him."
Wenger has also reacted to news that young Italian forward Lupoli is keen on a move to Napoli when his contract expires, with the Gunners boss stating: "We will respect what he wants to do."
Arsenal's range of attacking options also means that The Gunners will not be entering the race to sign Charlton star Darren Bent, who has been linked with a number of clubs including Chelsea and Tottenham.
"I am not in for Darren Bent," Wenger said. "With the transfer window I am like somebody who is watching the rain outside from inside the window. They all hurry up out there and I am sitting here watching it with pleasure."