Arsène Wenger suggested he does not care what Tottenham do in the transfer market or, indeed, any of Arsenal’s other rivals in the Premier League as he mounted a strong defence of his policies and promised he would finish a testing summer with the “right balance” to the squad.
The manager is preparing for the pivotal Champions League play-off first-leg with Fenerbahce to a backdrop of deep supporter unrest. They are frustrated that the club have not made a cash signing this summer and what has amounted to a crisis of confidence was sparked by the 3-1 home defeat by Aston Villa on Saturday, in their opening Premier League fixture.
Wenger shrugged off the result as “accidental”, claiming it had come under “special” or unlucky circumstances and he pointed out that it was his team’s first loss since early March. But what irked him in particular was the mention of Tottenham’s ambitious spending.
They are close to a £30m deal for the Anzhi Makhachkala forward Willian, which would take their spending to £89.5m and they have plans to strengthen further.
“I cannot listen every minute to every state of mind for everybody,” Wenger said. “You cannot look all the time in life at what others do. You do what is right for you. I would just like to reiterate to you that in the last 16 years we have been very successful with transfers.
“If you look at the players who play [against Fenerbahce], they are top quality players. You should never forget that. It is not always to think what is outside is better than what you have. What is important as well is to rate what you have and our fans have to understand that as well.
“What is important is to go out and see a good football game. All that other stuff is good for the newspapers, but it is not real football. A squad has to have the right number. And we will have the right balance when the transfer window closes, don’t worry.”
Wenger also responded to the Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew’s claim that Arsenal had been “disrespectful” with their £10m bid for the midfielder Yohan Cabaye on Monday, before their 4-0 defeat at Manchester City. “You can’t reproach us for not buying and when we try to buy, reproach us as well,” Wenger said. “We don’t want to hurt anybody.
Not Newcastle, not anybody. I won’t explain to you what happened [with the Cabaye bid]. It’s not down to me to explain to you everything I do. It’s impossible.”