Arsene Wenger has claimed he is willing to buy big again should his side require the strengthening, but still aims to develop young talent to create the backbone of his squad.
The Frenchman smashed Arsenal’s transfer record in the summer bringing in one of the best No.10’s in the world in Mesut Ozil, and feels the club are in a situation now where they can start to flex their financial muscle to develop upon their homegrown squad.
The Gunners struggled for years financially after the move to Emirates stadium, Wenger had several agendas during the difficult period one of which was to keep Arsenal at the highest level possible (making the Champions League) and prevent them from bankruptcy (limited spending budget).
The Arsenal boss has now built himself a very exciting team with patience and plenty of graft on the training ground, investing valuable playing time into developing youth players that have either come through their academy or purchased at a young age. Now these players have been supplemented with some top talent, not just Ozil but the likes of Cazorla and Podolski to name a few and the future looks bright at the Emirates.
Wenger gave an insightful interview on Arsenal’s official website, and divulged some details of what was a stressful summer for the Frenchman.
[On concluding the club transfer deal for Ozil]
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Of course, it’s a big responsibility to spend that amount of money. But I feel comfortable with it because we had the money to do it. Before we couldn’t have done it because we didn’t have the money available. It’s as simple as that. I had a huge sense of responsibility when we built the stadium to get the Club through it without going bankrupt. The first years were difficult, and also explained why we lost some players. Now we are in a more comfortable financial position, I – more than anyone – want the great players to play for Arsenal Football Club. If we have to spend the money to do that, I will spend the money.
[On if the deal will begin a shift in transfer policy]
No, the policy is exactly the same – I always want to bring the best players in here, world-class players, at the best possible price. And I want to continue to educate 60 to 80 per cent of the squad ourselves. The culture of the Club, the way we want to play football and the way we want to behave, comes from within. The Wilsheres, the Ramseys, the Gibbs – these kind of players have to be the culture of the Club. Then on top of that we want to bring world-class players who will help us to be even stronger.
[On whether fans can look forward to seeing further big name acquisitions during upcoming summers]
If they are needed, then yes. If it’s just for marketing reasons, then no. But for football reasons, why not.
Wenger was a wanted man at the start of the season, fans were rallying against him more than ever after the Arsenal’s disastrous opening day loss to Aston Villa which was compounded with the lack of summer signings. But pressure eased after the signing of the German star as well as the brilliant form of Aaron Ramsey and free signing Mathieu Flamini inspired Arsenal to the top of the Premier League table.
The Frenchman was asked on how he rated the past transfer window and coped with the pressure on his shoulders:
At the end of the day, I’m not the only one who dictates the timings of the transfer market. I always said that, even to people inside the Club who I worked with, I told them that this is a very stressful period but we have to be patient because things can happen right at the end. I said that many times. The transfer of Ozil was linked with a huge desire of everyone at the Club to get it done, but at the same time it could have failed because we faced huge competition in the end from other clubs, so you have to accept that. The pressure for us on the transfer front was huge. People knew we had money to spend, and honestly, it wasn’t easy. I said many times I was ready to spend if it was for the right player, and if you look at our form over the past year, it would take a special talent to strengthen the team.
[On whether he is expecting to spend in January]
I don’t rule it out. I don’t rule it out at all, but saying that I don’t want to encourage more speculation. We have just come out of a transfer market that has been very agitated, so let’s not go into the next one today! I just want to focus on football now.
The deal for Ozil has been monumental on several levels, not just the quality he adds to the side but also the confidence he injects into the players around him. There is a sense of ambition around the Emirates at present that has been missing for a number of years, the fans are enjoying watching while the players are really enjoying playing. Wenger also appears about 5 years younger with the football flowing more fluently, it is exciting times in the red part of north London.
Is this a new era for the Gunners?