Arsene Wenger and Arsenal is ready to spend… the money they have.
The Premier League giants lost 4-3 to Liverpool in their season opener last weekend and Wenger come under plenty of scrutiny for not strengthening his central defense and adding a central striker over the summer.
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Speaking to the media on Thursday ahead of a huge clash at the King Power Stadium against Leicester City on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on CNBC and online via NBC Sports) Wenger revealed Arsenal is trying to spend the money they have.
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He insisted that even though they haven’t spent as much as their PL rivals, he isn’t stashing it away for a rainy day.
“You are absolutely convinced I am not willing to spend the money but I can absolutely reassure you, we’re ready to spend the money we have. Not the money we haven’t got… it’s not my money,” Wenger laughed. “It’s important to spend money but more important to spend it the right way. There are two markets, one for English clubs, one for the rest of Europe.”
Shkodran Mustafi has reportedly agreed a move to Arsenal but the Gunners are said to be negotiating with Valencia about the transfer fee for the German international center back.
There has also been summer-long speculation that French international striker Alexandre Lacazette will join Arsenal but his club side Lyon has already rejected at least one bid from Arsenal and the Ligue 1 club are demanding in-excess of $55 million for the 25-year-old.
It is clear Arsenal need a new center back — Per Mertesacker and Gabriel are out injured, hence why Rob Holding and Calum Chambers started at center back in the 4-3 defeat to Liverpool — and a new striker with Olivier Giroud their only option up top with Danny Welbeck out injured. Yet, it is also clear that Arsenal don’t want to spend the same money as Manchester City, Manchester United and even Liverpool to improve their team and become a clear title contender this season. Ivan Gazidis, Arsenal’s chief executive, has said as much.
Arsenal’s fans have been fervent in their criticism of the club in recent years for not spending enough money and making use of the incredibly stable and beneficial financial position they are in from being at the Emirates Stadium and qualifying for the UEFA Champions League group stage every season.
Yet, with Wenger clearing moving to address his needs this summer, the fact that he hasn’t been given enough money to spend is the big issue here.
Until that situation changes, what more can Wenger do?