Wenger: Arsenal now on equal footing
Arsene Wenger says Arsenal can now bid on and bring in top talent to provide a base on which to mount a long-overdue sustained assault on the Premier League title -- and indicated that Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina's arrival is imminent.
Wenger has championed the potential of his young squad, with the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Laurent Koscielny having experienced the winning feeling in the FA Cup and German trio Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski and Mesut Ozil taking it to another level at the World Cup.
While Wenger also maintained the squad did not need major additions this summer, his work in securing the services of 30 million pound Chile forward Alexis Sanchez was seen as something of a personal coup, the Gunners boss having used his time working as a media pundit in Brazil for French television to the club's advantage.
Defender Mathieu Debuchy comes in from Newcastle as a Premier League-ready replacement for compatriot Bacary Sagna, who left as a free agent for Manchester City, while the club appear close to bringing in Ospina from Nice as back-up for Wojciech Szczesny.
One day before the Gunners face the N.Y. Red Bulls, current club of former hero Thierry Henry, Wenger said his aim is to replicate past successes.
"Yes, I hope so. That's what our target is but still I think we have been very consistent," he said at a news conference. "It was a very different period because we built a new stadium and had to pay it back. We survived at the top level but we want more. We are now on an even ground with the other clubs than we were five or six years ago."
Even as the new wave of financial incentives have set the club on solid financial footing, Wenger also stressed that the side must remain healthy.
"We have people that won the World Cup and hopefully with that we boost our confidence," he said. "We bought some good players like Alexis Sanchez who will give us different options. And overall last season, we were for a long time top of the league and we lost -- you know we had many injuries and hopefully this year we will be injury-free and start very well."
While he waits for Ospina's signing to become official, Wenger said the Gunners will focus on Szczensy as goalkeeper.
"You know at the start Szczensy will be the No. 1, then again we'll be down to performances and, if Ospina shows that he is better, he will play," he said.