ESPN FC Extra: Emirates hosts North London derby
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Real Madrid will have been “very generous” if they complete their proposed £86 million world-record transfer of Tottenham’s Gareth Bale ahead of Monday’s transfer deadline.
Wenger hinted there are few players in world football worthy of a price tag of more than £50 million and suggested Bale is not among that number, as he reiterated his belief that today's transfer market is over-inflated.
“They are very generous,” Wenger said, when asked about Real Madrid's valuation of Bale. “Look, I don’t think the price is linked with the quality of the players at all, especially this summer. The prices today are just linked with the financial power and the desire of the buyer.
“It is impossible to assess a market when you can assess the price of a player because that has gone completely. For me, there is very, very, very, very few players who are economically justifying or it makes sense to pay over £50 million. If you analyse what I said, you can come to your own conclusion [on Bale].”
Wenger has been forced to deal with the fall-out from consistently losing star players in recent years, and despite Tottenham’s extravagant spending on new talent in recent weeks, he believes Arsenal’s rivals will be hit by Bale’s likely departure.
“It is very difficult losing your best players and it has a negative impact, always,” he said. “You are perceived by your fans to have a lack of ambition, the rest of the squad lose strength in their team. We have gone through that consistently and it demands mental adjustment to keep your ambition alive and it’s very, very difficult.
“Of course I have sympathy [for Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas]. I know that I am not the only one to suffer. I’ve gone through that every season. Usually, the questions [on players leaving Arsenal] started for me in January.”
Wenger confirmed that Jack Wilshere is fit to play in Sunday’s derby against Tottenham, but he has been dealt a blow by the news that Lukas Podolski will be out for longer than first feared.
“He has a grade three hamstring tear,” Wenger said. “That means eight to ten weeks, it can be more to be fully match fit. To be fully match fit, you can count three months.”
Wenger said “it would be very difficult” for Nicklas Bendtner to find a route out of Arsenal before the end of the transfer window, adding that he would consider using the striker in his team this season when he returns to fitness after recent minor surgery.
Meanwhile, Wenger insisted his long-term future at the Gunners is not on the agenda, stressing discussions over an extension to his contract, that expires next summer, are currently not on his mind.
"My future at the moment is not the most important," he said. "What is important is we have a big game on Sunday and after that, until Tuesday the transfer market is open and that is another priority. I am not on the transfer market, so it’s not a priority [my future]."