ESPN FC Extra: Emirates hosts North London derby
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has insisted he “will not panic buy” as the countdown to the end of the transfer window increases the pressure on him to sign new players this summer.
Wenger’s pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s North London derby against Tottenham was dominated by questions about his transfer dealings, despite his best attempts to steer the inquisition away.
When asked whether he was still active in the transfer market, the Frenchman offered a positive response, although he could not give any clue as to when he might spend money on a player for the first time this summer.
“I am confident [we will sign players] and we will not panic buy, that is for sure. It’s not my strength to panic,” Wenger said. “We have players who have quality and it’s a shame that people only see that when they are injured. You need good players in every position and especially you need an attitude and a way to play the game.
“If we add players who can integrate that style of play we will, if not, we will not do anything stupid just for the sake of saying we have done something. We do what make sense, it’s simple.”
Wenger went on to stress he is content with the recruitment policy he is following despite a summer of frustration in the transfer market, before insisting there is a queue of players lining up to join Arsenal.
“I can lend you my phone and you will see that I have 50 players offered per day, at least,” he said. “I am completely happy with what we do and how we do things. I know that it’s under scrutiny, being analysed. But I don’t share with the critics what is made of that. It won’t change, no.
“I can understand that it is interesting for people to read newspapers to see who comes in, who goes out. There is only one thing that matters and that is what happens on the pitch, that’s what matters. Let’s focus on that.”
Wenger reiterated his desire to see the transfer window closed before the start of the Premier League season, while he had a word of warning for rivals Tottenham, who may have signed as many as seven new players by the end of Monday night.
“I am not in the best position to judge Tottenham,” he said. “I know all the players they have brought and we wait to see how they will integrate, how well they will do. It’s very difficult to predict that.
“I don’t know [if Spurs have closed the gap]. They try very hard, of course, that’s normal. In our job, there is a technical risk when you buy more than three players because you unbalance the stability of the squad. It is difficult when you bring so many players in to predict how they will do.
“It can work, it can click fantastically well if you bring lots of players in. There is a risk on the squad and the technical consistently. I must confess I’m not too worried about their risk and what they do. I believe you win games by focusing on yourself and the quality of our game. It is difficult to integrate many players together.”
Wenger added that his biggest signing of the summer to date was not even on his radar at the start of the summer, but expressed his delight at re-signing Mathieu Flamini.
“The ambition is there and he is a huge fit,” he said. “He worked hard when he came here for fitness. He knows how we want to play, he knows the ambition we have. When I saw the mental and physical state, it was a no brainer.
“At the start I didn’t want to sign him. Circumstances and his attitude meant I did it. I didn’t expect him to be in that mental shape and that physical shape. Our job teaches you humility and you always have to be ready to change your mind and I changed my mind.”