BBC Sport football


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 18:29 GMT, Sunday, 10 May 2009 19:29 UK

Wenger vows to strengthen squad

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and his Manchester United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson
Wenger insists the gap between Arsenal and Manchester United can be bridged

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will splash out in the summer after conceding he needs to strengthen his squad.

Last week's defeat by Manchester United in the Champions League semi-final ended Arsenal's hopes of winning a trophy for the first time since 2005.

"Certainly we will try to strengthen the squad in the summer," said Wenger, who side lost 4-1 to Chelsea on Sunday.

"We'll look to sign one or two players. We are prepared to spend the necessary money to get the players we want."

Wenger has revealed he will look to bring in experienced players this summer, a stance backed by Alisher Usmanov, a major shareholder in the club who has expressed concern over the strength of the club's squad.

"At times it was a bit like men against boys," Usmanov, who owns 25% of the club's shares, said after the Champions League exit at the hands of the Red Devils.

"Does the club need to take a step up? Of course. To be first in the world, to be first in Europe, you must have a much stronger bench.

"Look at United on Tuesday night. They had at least £100m in talent sitting on the bench."

Wenger, who saw his side crash to a demoralising 4-1 defeat at home to Chelsea on Sunday, has put his faith in young players in recent seasons - but the policy has yet to pay dividends in terms of trophies.

Talented young players like Kieran Gibbs and Aaron Ramsey have been brought into the first team but the Gunners have been criticised for not signing more experienced players in the transfer market.

And Wenger's insistence that any player over the age of 30 should not be offered a deal longer than two years has resulted in the likes of Robert Pires and Gilberto Silva leaving the club.


Last summer Alexander Hleb and Matthieu Flamini also departed, with youngsters Samir Nasri, Aaron Ramsey and Amaury Bischoff moving to the Emirates, in addition to experienced defender Mikael Silvestre.

The arrival of Russian playmaker Andriy Arshavin in January for a reported fee of £15m was seen as a step in the right direction by many Gunners fans.

But Arsenal's failure to sustain a challenge in the Premier League and their semi-final exits in the Champions League and FA Cup have been used as evidence that Arsenal need to strengthen.

"The size of the player is not always linked with the size of the money you spend," added Wenger in his programme notes for Arsenal's game against Chelsea.

"Once we identify the player we want, we will spend the money we need to."

Arsenal have been linked with West Ham centre-back Matthew Upson, who left Arsenal in 2003, Barcelona midfielder Yaya Toure - the younger brother of Arsenal defender Kolo - and Valencia striker David Villa.

The 4-1 aggregate defeat by Manchester United in the last four of the Champions League was a particularly bitter pill for Arsenal fans to swallow but Wenger insisted the two clubs are not as far apart as that result might suggest.

"People have come to the conclusion that there is a massive difference between us and Manchester United," he stated.

"I'm convinced there isn't. I remain confident that we can win silverware next season and that's why we will continue to work hard."

Print Sponsor

see also
Arsenal 1-4 Chelsea
10 May 09 |  Premier League
Walcott agrees new Arsenal deal
08 May 09 |  Arsenal
Adebayor vows to stay at Arsenal
06 May 09 |  Arsenal
Wenger rueful after 'worst night'
05 May 09 |  Europe
Arsenal 1-3 Man Utd (agg 1-4)
05 May 09 |  Europe
Wenger transfer policy under fire
17 Apr 09 |  Arsenal
Arsenal 'must triumph in Europe'
28 Apr 09 |  Arsenal
Mathieu Flamini interview
23 Apr 09 |  Arsenal
Arsenal need to strengthen - Dein
01 Feb 09 |  Arsenal
Arshavin completes Arsenal move
03 Feb 09 |  Arsenal
Arsenal promise cash for signings
28 Nov 08 |  Arsenal
Arsenal's young guns
01 Dec 08 |  Arsenal

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.