Arsene Wenger claims that after a difficult period for the club, we are finally ready to compete for the world’s best players once again, as reported by the BBC.
The Frenchman has been criticised in the past for his frugal nature, but insists that it was born out of necessity.
We struggled to compete with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City after investing huge amounts in the Emirates stadium, and relied on our business model and Financial Fair Play to keep us somewhat competitive in the Premier League.
“What people forget is you have to build a new stadium,” Wenger said.
“Now we can compete for the best players and that was not the case five years ago.”
Something we have heard for years is that fourth place is not a trophy. And while this is true, Wenger made it clear that our aim for the last few years has been to ensure Champions League football above all else.
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Arsenal fans came accustomed to winning trophies regularly, and of course it would have been fantastic to continue in that vein during times of economic struggle.
Both Wenger and the board had realistic expectations however, and knew that top four was the target we should have been aiming for.
“I went with the club for the challenge of building a new stadium without dropping out of the Champions League and we made it every year,” he continued.
“I feel that I have done my job in a very committed and faithful way. In 20 years it will be acknowledged that was a very sensitive period for the club. Today the club is in a strong position.
“You want to win everything. We were not that far away but we were facing opposition with much more resources. We had to deal with it.”
We arguably still don’t quite have the financial fire-power that the likes of Chelsea or Manchester City possess, but the stricter imposition of Financial Fair Play has leveled the playing field somewhat.
Our record expenditure this season shows Wenger is willing to get his cheque-book out now too, and the likes of Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez making the switch to the Emirates proves the manager right about attracting top talent.