December 10 2013 Latest news:
Friday, August 16, 2013
Manager Arsene Wenger maintains he is not keeping a tight grip on Arsenal’s bumper cash reserves, but insists the club can only still spend what they can afford as the search for new players continues.
Chief executive Ivan Gazidis may have talked up the Gunners’ new “financial firepower” at the end of the last campaign, but so far the only confirmed signing has been France Under-21 forward Yaya Sanogo - and that on a free transfer from Auxerre.
Arsenal failed to push through a deal for Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain earlier in the summer, and another target got away this week as Brazil midfielder Luiz Gustavo joined Wolfsburg from Bayern Munich.
While the Gunners continue to pursue Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, the bid would have to be considerably closer to £50million to kickstart negotiations, and with the player back in training with the Reds today it appeared a reconciliation had taken place with manager Brendan Rodgers.
Lille winger Florian Thauvin is another said to be on Wenger’s radar, as is Romania forward Ciprian Marica following his release by Schalke.
Wenger, who this season becomes the longest serving manager in the top flight, has been criticised for what is perceived as a lack of willingness to part with what is understood to be around £70million ready to reinvest in his squad.
The 63-year-old, however, insists he is ready to spend the money, but only on the right calibre of player.
“If you want to absolutely describe me as a greedy [miserly] person and you would live with me, you would see that I am not, I am rather generous,” he said.
“But we had to go through a period when we had to look at the money that we spent. Today we look for the quality and not necessary the money that we spend,” added Wenger, whose side will open the new Premier League campaign against Aston Villa tomorrow without Mikel Arteta, the midfielder possibly set for up to six weeks sidelined by a thigh injury.
“What can I do about it [the public perception]? Sometimes the image you [media] give people is reality and sometimes not.
“Of course it is unfair. Why should I resist [to spend]? I just defend the idea that you spend the money you have and not the money you don’t have.
“For years I did that. Today we have more so we can spend more. It is as simple as that.
“Of course I am excited by that prospect, but what I want to convince you of is that we are ready to spend the money if we feel that the player makes us a better team tomorrow morning.
“Maybe it is difficult to balance that in a newspaper, but football is not only about that. It is bigger than that, it is about the team, the quality of the play, the spirit and togetherness and the quality of the players. Therefore we have to focus on all the rest as well.”
Wenger continued: “If you bring me tomorrow players who are better than those we have, I promise you we will look at them, but you cannot say that [Jack] Wilshere is a super player and then ask ‘why you do not buy better player than him?”’
While Wenger will not be drawn any more on the Suarez situation, the Arsenal manager stressed completing deals was not always just as simple as upping the cash on offer.
“The issue is that the club sometimes does not want to sell at any price,” he said.
“In the example of Suarez and you are Liverpool, you have to calculate if you want to get into the Champions League, who are our rivals and do we want to sell to them? Unless they need the money or they have a clause or things like that, things are not always working just because you put the money up.”
Despite all of the clamour for big-name signings, Arsenal have enjoyed a decent pre-season campaign, which ended with a 3-1 win over Manchester City in Helsinki last weekend.
Wenger accepts such negative perception surrounding his team is now par for the course.
“It is a bit frustrating. We just beat Man City 3-1, imagine we had lost, but what can I do about it?” he said.
“What is important, I can only influence what we do on the football pitch.”