ARSENAL may have obliterated their transfer record by signing £42.5m Mesut Ozil last month but manager Arsene Wenger has warned fans that the club are not about to abandon their frugal ways.
Wenger said further blue-chip signings would be rare, and emphasised that his priority was still developing young players and spotting unheralded talent.
The Frenchman cited greater financial competition among European clubs, driven by investors from Asia and the Middle East ploughing fortunes into clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City.
“Europe is becoming poorer, and the rest of the world – Asia for example – is becoming richer,” Wenger told supporters at yesterday’s AGM in London.
“These people invest in football in Europe. That means the competition we face on an international level, financially, has become bigger than before. Before, four or five clubs could win the Champions League; today I can give you 10 clubs.
“That’s why I believe we still have to convince ourselves that the future of this club relies on the quality of the work we do here inside in developing our players, in scouting quality, and then of course, when it’s needed, to put big numbers out and buy the players. But that cannot be the basis of the stability of our club.”
Wenger, who hopes to have Ozil and Spain’s Santi Cazorla fit to play alongside each other for the first time tomorrow against Norwich, said he had “huge ambition” to win the Premier League this term.
Looming fixtures against Liverpool and Manchester United meant they would have a better idea of their competitiveness next month, he added, before expanding on his three-point plan for success.
“The first level is to defend our style of play, our philosophy of play and our values,” he said. “The second has to be based on the intelligence of our eye. Then, the third part is to scout and buy recognised world class players.”