Wenger feeling transfer pressure
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has conceded he is under pressure to sign "big name players" in the final fortnight of the transfer window, but he is struggling to find the talent to bolster a squad he believes is ready to challenge for honours this season.
In a summer when Wenger has made a public declaration that he is ready to alter the direction of his transfer policy with a bid in excess of £40 million to sign Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, the Arsenal boss has raised hopes among his own supporters that a big-money arrival is imminent.
Yet he is determined to dampen down those expectations as he stresses he is not alone in struggling to find players equipped to take his Arsenal side to the next level and end the club’s eight-year trophy drought and has rejected the suggestion that he is blocking the signing of new players due to his reluctance to sanction big money moves.
"Why should I resist (signing players)," questioned Wenger. "Today we have more so we can spend more and, 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.
"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. The expectation level is high that we bring in big names, but the situation is there are not a lot of the top, top quality players available to buy.
"When you see the French clubs getting in on the transfer market this summer and signing big players, it means there are many more clubs now able to pay for the top players and that makes it even more difficult to get them.
"The issue is that the club sometimes does not want to sell at any price. In the example of Suarez and if you are Liverpool, you have to calculate if you want to get into the Champions League, who are our rivals and do we want to sell to them.
"Unless they need the money or they have a clause or things like that, things are not always working just because you put the money up."
Wenger went on to suggest his club are judged by different standards to some of their rivals in the transfer market, as he insisted the spirit within his team needs to be maintained even if he succeeds in landing a stellar signing before the September 2nd deadline.
"Football is not only about signing players, it's bigger than that," he added. "It's 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.
"It is always strange because for example people praise Borussia Dortmund for going to the Champions League final, but the most expensive transfer of Dortmund is not very impressive."
Wenger has confirmed that Per Mertesacker will captain his side in Saturday’s season opener against Aston Villa, with the armband being warmly accepted by the experienced German centre-back.
"It is very unusual that the captain and vice captain are out for the first game of the season but for me it is a big honour and a big surprise," he told Arsenal Player.
"I am not used to it but during pre-season I captained the team for a few games so it is nothing new. It is very special for me to be captain for the first Premier League game.
"My English is improving so I can contribute a bit more as communication is important and hopefully my contribution will increase further."