So another English Premier League season is upon us.
And while it is all change at the top for Man United, Man City and Chelsea – Arsene Wenger stubbornly remains at London club Arsenal. The Frenchman is currently the division’s longest serving manager having been with the Gunners since 1996.
The transfer window has been depressingly quiet this year but perhaps even more depressingly quiet for an Arsenal supporter. Especially considering how much Wenger has upset his fans in the signings department in the past.
I understand every frustration, you have so many frustrated people, but what is important is the quality of what you do on the pitch, so let's not create a crisis from nothing
Yes many things have shifted in the EPL – Ferguson is out and Mourinho is back – but Arsenal’s struggle to make big signings is one consistent which gives football fans (if you don’t support Arsenal) a sense of calm and stability.
On Friday, Wenger sought to pacify his frustrated fans by saying he hoped to bring in two or three players before the transfer window closes.
The one player Arsenal have been linked to is Luis Suarez, however, the latest on that development is that the striker will remain at Anfield.
Wenger is a well-respected figure amongst players and colleagues but his power in the transfer market has diminished.
The north London club start the Premier League season on Saturday at home to Aston Villa having failed to land any of the big names they have been linked with and their only addition is French youth international forward Yaya Sanogo.
“I don’t disagree that we are a bit light at the moment but there is 18 days to go until the end of the transfer market and we are of course looking to strengthen our squad,” Wenger told a news conference.
“I understand every frustration, you have so many frustrated people, but what is important is the quality of what you do on the pitch, so let’s not create a crisis from nothing,” he said.
Sense of deja vu anyone?
As well as Suarez, Arsenal have also been linked with Gonzalo Higuain who has instead joined Napoli from Real Madrid.
Asked if Arsenal were still pursuing Uruguay international Suarez, Wenger replied with a smile: “Look, I don’t want to come out on any specific name because that would not be alright, usually in the press you are well informed.”
Arsenal, who finished fourth last season to secure a Champions League playoff spot, are not the only club having little luck in the transfer window with Premier League champions Manchester United and third-placed Chelsea in similar positions.
“Ideally you would want to be quicker, but to finalise (a) transfer you need agreement of three parties,” Wenger said.
“You look at us, Chelsea and Manchester United – it’s difficult to find quality players to strengthen the team and squad because there is a shortage of top players who are available.
“It is not the question about spending the money it is a question of finding the right players, you know. As I told you, you are well informed, you for certain have heard that we are not scared to spend money but we want the right players.”
With the transfer window shutting on September 2, there is still time for some activity and Wenger hopes to seal a few deals.
“It’s impossible to give you a number. The first request is quality to play for Arsenal Football Club. After the number comes in, yes we would like two or three players, if possible more,” he said.
“But we won’t compromise on the quality of the players.”
An understandable statement from a Premier League stalwart but one that could spell a problem for Arsenal.
Whichever way Wenger tries to spin it his team will suffer far more from a lack of signings than the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea.