| 6.6°C Belfast

Wenger: We're not scared to spend


Arsene Wenger is happy to continue spending money at Arsenal

Arsene Wenger is happy to continue spending money at Arsenal

Arsene Wenger is happy to continue spending money at Arsenal

Manager Arsene Wenger maintains Arsenal are ready to spend big again on buying more world-class talent like Mesut Ozil - but also stressed the club are not about to abandon their long-standing principle of youth development.

Arsenal held their annual general meeting at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday, where the atmosphere was much less tense than in previous seasons, with the team currently top of the Barclays Premier League after having smashed their transfer record with the £43million deadline day signing of German playmaker Ozil from Real Madrid.

Wenger, though, was keen to use his address to shareholders to emphasise while Arsenal are now able to compete again in terms of big-money signings on the back of improved commercial deals, the continued focus for developing from within would remain at the "core" of the club.

He said: "We have a huge ambition to win this league again and that is the target of the season, but I still believe our policy has to be based on three different levels. I don't think without that we will have success.

"The first level is of course, continue to defend our style of play, our philosophy of play and our values. That can only be done by developing our own players and the core of our team has to come from the development inside our club.

"The second level of the development of our club has to be based on the intelligence of our eye. That means players who are unknown and who can become big players here, through our connections, the quality of our scouting, through the quality of what we have seen in them and how they could develop.

"Then, the third part of our development and ambition is to scout and buy recognised world class players. This season for example we have bought Ozil. You don't need any scout to buy Ozil. You just need money.

"I am quite happy that we have shown to you that we are not scared to spend money when we think the players have the quality and we have the funds available to do it."

Wenger continued: "I believe we have a huge advantage in that our club is well respected all over the world because we have values, because we are not artificial, because we are based on tradition, we are as well forward thinking and we give a chance to young people who deserve it.

"That is for me something that is very important to preserve."

Arsenal host Norwich when domestic action resumes again on Saturday.

The Gunners lead the table only on goal difference from Liverpool, whom they are set to face at the Emirates Stadium at the start of next month.

Wenger feels Arsenal should be confident of a long-overdue sustained assault on the title.

"We are top of the table, we are in a very strong position, but if you look at the schedule, then by the end of November you will have a much clearer situation of where the strengths of everybody lies in this Premier League," said Wenger.

"When we get all of our players back (from injury), then at the moment I am confident we have a very big part to play in this league.

"I am confident at the end of May, we will all be happy."

Ozil, who was substituted late on during Germany's final World Cup qualifier in Sweden, is set to play despite suffering a knock to his knee.

Fellow playmaker Santi Cazorla should be involved again for the first time since the win over Tottenham on September 1 following his recovery from an ankle problem, while Bacary Sanga (hamstring) could also play.

Wenger told Arsenal Player: "He (Ozil) is alright. He came back with a knock on the knee, but it was just a kick. We will have a test tomorrow to see if he is fit enough for Saturday or not.

"When you have not played, there is always a little doubt, but not a major one. Sagna is 80 per cent fit and he will have a test.

"Cazorla is available in training, but he is not match-fit. It is just about competitiveness with him. There is a possibility both are in the squad for Saturday. I have not decided whether they will start or not."

England forward Theo Walcott, who has been sidelined after a minor abdominal procedure, is set to resume full training, but may not feature until next week's Champions League tie with Borussia Dortmund.