Sunday 24 September 2017

£40m for Wenger to rebuild Arsenal

Arsene Wenger will have a budget of around £40m this summer. Photo: Getty Images
Arsene Wenger will have a budget of around £40m this summer. Photo: Getty Images

Jeremy Wilson

Arsene Wenger will have a budget of around £40m this summer and will be allowed to spend it how he chooses.

Those funds will cover transfer fees as well as the wages of new signings, giving the Arsenal manager the resources to retain the core of his squad but also add one or two proven and experienced players.

More radical change would require the departure of existing players, with the money from any sales to be added to the transfer budget. The futures of Cesc Fabregas, Gael Clichy, Denilson, Tomas Rosicky and Nicklas Bendtner are expected to come under scrutiny, but a major departure from Wenger's overall philosophy can be discounted.

Bolton centre-back Gary Cahill will be among the transfer targets, although Arsenal can anticipate interest from Manchester United, Liverpool and Spurs. They are also likely to make a bid for Southampton teenager Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

For all the criticism of their goalkeepers, Arsenal were hit by a freakish sequence of injuries earlier this season and Wenger has been encouraged by the progress of Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski.

progress

Despite the deep disappointments of the past two months, Wenger believes his squad have made progress over the past year and, in competing for their first Premier League top-two finish since 2005, have proven that they will eventually win trophies.

Arsenal's new majority owner, Stan Kroenke, is sympathetic to that assessment and has made it clear to the club's directors that his vision for Arsenal remains one of growth through financial self-sustainability.

Wenger's transfer budget is not new money resulting from Kroenke's proposed takeover, but would come from the cash balance of £110.4m that was largely accrued by the Highbury Square development and the sales of Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure to Manchester City.

That money will also go towards improved contracts for key players, notably Samir Nasri and Johan Djourou.

Improvements are also planned for the club's London Colney training ground, with a new medical and rehabilitation wing being built.

"We are not sitting on a cash balance of over £100m," said chief executive Ivan Gazidis. "We need operating money over the course of the year. You always have to bear in mind the sustainability of your wage base when you make those (transfer) decisions. We don't sit on money because we like sitting on money."

Meanwhile, 'Don Balon', the Spanish magazine which published a controversial interview with Cesc Fabregas on Tuesday, hit back at Wenger yesterday over his claim that the Arsenal captain had been misrepresented.

Balon produced a transcript of the interview alongside a photograph of Fabregas with one of their journalists. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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