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Wenger: We were priced out of Hazard

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger insists he is not afraid to splash the cash despite admitting he was priced out of the market for Eden Hazard.

• Wilshere set for Gunners return
• Preview: Arsenal v Chelsea

The Gunners posted pre-tax profits of £36.3 million on Thursday after a summer in which Wenger dug deep to bring Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla to Emirates Stadium.

But ahead of Chelsea's visit to Arsenal on Saturday, Wenger conceded the club would continue to be outpriced for in-demand players like Eden Hazard - who the Frenchman pursued before he ultimately ended up moving to Stamford Bridge in a £32 million deal.

"The transfer price was fixed, because he had a clause, so everybody was at the same level," Wenger said. "He has been voted best player of the French league two consecutive years.

"You need some quality to do that at his age. I'm not surprised at all that he goes to Chelsea, and straight away is one of their stars because everybody knew about him.

"Let's not forget that all the big budgets in England were after him. We are not scared to spend the money, but we feel that even if we spend our money, with some clubs we can't compete on certain players."

Wenger expressed his belied that the current financial situation at the Emirates Stadium is "very pleasing", but insists he will not stray from his stringent transfer policy.

"Our numbers are good," Wenger said. "Under the actual circumstances this is quite positive because the whole (global financial) environment is not positive.

"We are very lucky because we have a good support and the income of our gates is very high. We have to maintain that by keeping our fans happy and to continue to manage well in the way that we do it."

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