Arsene Wenger has reiterated that he had no qualms tripling Arsenal’s transfer record when he shelled out £42.5 million for Mesut Ozil and underlined that he’s open to spending more big money so long as incoming players improve his squad.
Looking back on a nerve-jangling summer which required patience in the face of intense media speculation and a winning poker face given the competition from moneyed rivals, the boss reflected proudly on his transfer window exploits.
“It’s a big responsibility to spend that amount of money [on Ozil] but I feel comfortable with it because we had the money to do it,” he told the Arsenal Magazine. “Before we couldn’t have done it because we didn’t have the money available. It’s as simple as that.”
Having spent much of the last decade hoarding cash like a squirrel stockpiles acorns, the boss also underlined that the signing of Ozil shouldn’t necessarily be viewed as a one-off or indeed the advent of an new era of willy-nilly spending.
“If they [new big-money signings] are needed, then yes,” continued Wenger. “If it’s just for marketing reasons, then no. But for football reasons, why not.
“The policy is exactly the same – I always want to bring the best players in here, world-class players, at the best possible price.
“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.”
Having had three months to make an impact on the transfer window the boss also admitted that he had to calm the fraying nerves of the Arsenal hierarchy as he headed into deadline day with only the free signings of Mathieu Flamini and Yayo Sanogo under his belt.
“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.”
It’s amazing to think it’s nearly seven weeks since Ozil signed on the dotted line at the Emirates. The weeks have flown by since then… well they did do until the interlull began and time just stopped. We’ll leave it to you to come up with a suitably scientific equation as to why international breaks are quite possibly the worst thing since erm…time began.