Arsene Wenger is nearer to signing a fullback on a short-term loan deal as he bids to ease Arsenal's defensive injury crisis.

20300 - Wenger 'closer' to fullback deal

Four of the Gunners' specialist fullbacks - Andre Santos, Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson and Bacary Sagna - are currently out injured, and Wenger is looking for a temporary solution to the problem.

He has been linked with moves for Manchester City's Wayne Bridge and AC Milan's Taye Taiwo, and has now hinted he is inching towards concluding a deal. "I am closer to a fullback, but only a tiny bit," Wenger said. "At the moment we are exploring potential situations we can take advantage of but there is nothing concrete.

"All over the world we have our eyes and we look for good [players]. It is very simple in a situation like that. You might take a player who doesn't play at all somewhere, who is not necessarily fit quicker than a player who is injured. Or you take a young, potential player who has not made it somewhere.

"A player who plays anywhere in the world at the moment will not be available on loan, it doesn't exist. It can only be a guy who doesn't play or a promising player who has not yet made it completely who you could take advantage of.

"That is why it is not an easy situation. You have to consider that a guy who has not played for two months is not necessarily back quicker than Bacary Sagna or another player who is just coming back from injury."

Wenger also confirmed Thomas Vermaelen, usually a centre-back but who can play at left-back, should be fit for the clash at home to Manchester United on January 22, in which Arsenal will look to get revenge for the 8-2 drubbing they suffered at Old Trafford early in the season.

Meanwhile, the French boss has revealed Thierry Henry is fit enough to start this Sunday's match away at Swansea in the Premier League. Earlier this week Henry scored the winner on his second Arsenal debut against Leeds, having rejoined the club on loan from New York Red Bulls.