Saturday 1 October 2016

Arsene Wenger finds the modern transfer market downright 'scary'

Tom Rooney

Published 29/07/2016 | 19:50

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Often derided by the Gunners faithful for his parsimony in the transfer market, Arsene Wenger admitted to being somewhat frightened by the vast sums of money currently being spent on players.

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No current manager in the English top flight can claim to have borne witness to the seismic financial changes that have occurred over the ls two decades quite as closely as Wenger.

Now in the 20th year of his tenure in London, the former Monaco coach has seen the massive cash influx from TV deals irrevocably alter the game.

Last night, when beating the MLS All-Stars by the 2-1 at the Avaya Stadium, Wenger was pleased with the debut performances from two of his most recent signings.

The defensive but creative Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka, who was bought from Borussia Monchengladbach, enjoyed a strong 45 minute cameo after coming on after the break, while Rob Holding, acquired from Bolton, had a decent night at the heart of the defence – good news considering Arsenal’s injury problems in the position.

“He has adjusted very well. His passing was clean and he did well with his technique,” Wenger said of Xhaka.

“He (Holding) has adapted surprisingly well. He reads the game well and understands what’s going on at such a young age.”

While Arsenal are in need of reinforcements at either end of pitch, it could be argued that Wenger's reputation for frugality is slightly overblown.

Three years ago he splashed big for Mesut Ozil, while Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez were two of 10 new recruits 12 months later.

Last summer, the brilliant Petr Cech was purchased from Chelsea and holding midfielder Mohamed Elneny arrived in January from Basel. And, when all was said and done, they finished second in the Premier League, albeit at the end of an unprecedented season.

Of late, the Gunners have had a major bid Alexandre Lacazette rejected by Lyon, while all their nearest rivals have continued to augment their squads for the season to come.

According to the Frenchman, and he’d probably know, when it comes to the transfer window, staying competitive is now an almost futile endeavour, while he sees the inflated price of players as more than unsettling.

 “I personally believe that no matter what you do, it’s never enough. In the Premier League, every club is hugely ambitious. With the cheques that everybody signs, it’s quite scary. But I believe we know what we have to do.”

Arsenal take on Mexico’s FC Guadalajara in California on Sunday.

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