Arsene Wenger claimed he was unable to deal personally with his Football Association misconduct charge due to the time constraints of adjusting to Arsenal’s new recruitment structure.
This month’s January window is the first active transfer period in which new head of recruitment Sven Mislintat, who joined the Gunners last month from Borussia Dortmund, has been able to make his mark.
Mislintat’s arrival is part of a series of backroom changes including Raul Sanllehi’s appointment as head of football relations, although the former Barcelona executive does not officially begin work at Emirates Stadium on February 1.
Wenger has been fined £40,000 and banned for three matches after being charged by the FA over his behaviour in the referee’s room following the Gunners’ 1-1 draw with West Brom on New Year’s Eve.
Wenger requested a personal hearing when facing a similar charge last year but opted against doing so this time.
And, speaking prior to public confirmation of his latest punishment, the Frenchman insisted he is focused primarily on the club’s transfer strategy, having made their first signing of 2018 by landing Konstantinos Mavropanos from PAS Giannina earlier this week.
Wenger confirmed Mislintat originally identified Mavropanos as a possible target and said: “It is important to find a new balance. For them [Mislintat and Sanllehi], it’s more difficult than for me, because they have to adapt to a new environment, they discover suddenly a different structure and overall that is at the moment a bit new and unusual because it’s an important period but we are not used to work together.
“How do you get that relationship? Well, by communicating, and that’s why I said I have no time to take care of my charge because I’ve meetings with them, to talk about how we can make it all work because.
“For them, Sven, it’s important to know all the scouts. We have a big scouting system so he has to meet everybody and to explain how it works, that’s why it’s very time-consuming at the moment.
“We talk. We know the players. We know. It’s not that we discover, we know every single player in Europe before Sven arrived. Sometimes, in a little club in Germany, he might know somebody we might ignore.”
Wenger is also preparing for Sunday’s FA Cup third round tie at Nottingham Forest and he confirmed goalkeeper David Ospina will start at the City Ground in addition to next Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final, first leg against Chelsea.
The 68-year-old also hinted that Ainsley Maitland-Niles could get an opportunity to play in central midfield, having broken into the first-team this season primarily as either a left-back or left wing-back.
“It’s a possibility,” added Wenger. “It’s his preferred position but at the moment I have [Sead] Kolasinac out, [Nacho] Monreal out and I don’t have much choice on the left side unless I play another young boy in Josh Da Silva. I haven’t made that decision yet.”