Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Wenger seeking to improve Gunners

Arsene Wenger says he will only make quality additions to his Arsenal squad
Arsene Wenger says he will only make quality additions to his Arsenal squad

Manager Arsene Wenger insists he is excited by the prospect of spending big before the end of the transfer window - but stressed he must be convinced any new arrivals will prove better players than the club already have.

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, who earlier this summer failed to push through a deal for Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain, saw another target get away this week as £15million-rated Brazil midfielder Luiz Gustavo joined Wolfsburg from Bayern Munich.

A £50million deal for Liverpool striker Luis Suarez continues to be touted, but with the player back in training with the Reds on Friday it appeared a reconciliation had taken place with Anfield boss Brendan Rodgers.

Wenger still has plenty of targets, which are said to include Lille winger Florian Thauvin and Romania forward Ciprian Marica, who would be available on a Bosman following his release by Schalke.

The French coach will this season become the longest serving manager in the top flight, but 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 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?'," said Wenger.

"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 necessarily the money that we spend.

"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 players 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."

Arsenal open the new Barclays Premier League campaign against Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon without Mikel Arteta, the midfielder possibly set for up to six weeks sidelined by a thigh injury.

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