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No. 50: Emre Can, Liverpool

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Wenger defends Arsenal approach

Arsene Wenger has launched a staunch defence of Arsenal's transfer policy, insisting the idea they should spend money they do not have is the reason "the whole world is bankrupt".

• Wenger demands response
• Van Persie: Victory is vital
• Sagna wants Hazard at Arsenal

Arsenal have come in for heavy criticism in the wake of the Champions League thrashing at AC Milan and FA Cup exit to Sunderland, with many feeling the club have failed to adequately replace the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.

There have been reports that, with captain Robin van Persie approaching the final year of his contract, the Gunners are now prepared to spend in the summer to avert a decline.

However, Arsenal have always emphasised the importance of their self-sustaining business model, and Wenger feels taking the kind of financial risk advocated by the club's critics would be foolish.

"What is unbelievable is that we run the model that should be absolutely normal and we look crazy. That is crazy," Wenger said. "People will do anything stupid, but we are not crazy, we are all right.

"We spend £1 if we make £1 and [then people say] 'What are they doing?' That is what is absolutely mad in our world, but the whole world is bankrupt because of that."

Wenger feels Arsenal would be genuine challengers this season without having had to invest in world-class signings had Fabregas and Samir Nasri not departed and Jack Wilshere not missed the season through injury.

"Last year we were very close to the top and there was a rupture in the building of our team with losing Fabregas, Nasri and Wilshere," he said. "We could compete with anybody in Europe with our midfield."

Wenger acknowledges that Arsenal's refusal to match the wages on offer at other clubs is an issue, and he added: "When we play a young team you have to understand as well that we have chosen that policy.

"What is difficult to take once you get close is that the players move, and that is where we are in trouble. It is not the policy, it is not keeping our players once they arrive in a mature way."

Given Arsenal's recent poor form, Sunday's game at home to Tottenham could hardly have come at a worse time. Spurs go into the game ten points ahead of their arch-rivals, but Wenger says players have every chance of taking all three points.

"At the moment I believe that Tottenham are a good club, with a massive support, which they have had always, but I believe we are highly capable to compete with them and if you look at the consistency we have produced at the top level, there is no comparison," he said.

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