Sunday 18 August 2019

Arsene Wenger offers journalists a night out to prove he spends money

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Jack De Menzes

Arsene Wenger has defended his record in the transfer market by inviting a journalist for a night out to “see that I like to spend money”.

The Arsenal manager was in good spirits following the 3-0 victory over Dinamo Zagreb that gives his side a chance of keeping their Champions League campaign alive beyond the group stage. The Gunners needed to beat Zagreb and hope Bayern Munich did them a favour against Olympiakos – something that the Bundesliga champions did emphatically with a 4-0 victory in Germany.

The results on Tuesday set-up an enticing clash in Athens in December where a victory of more than two goals, as well as one that equals or betters the 3-2 result from September, will send Arsenal through to the last-16 against all odds.

However, the build-up to Arsenal encounter with Zagreb was dominated by their lengthening injury list following the injuries suffered by Francis Coquelin and Mikel Arteta. The extraordinary number of casualties as the Emirates this season has seen Wenger’s reluctance to spend in the summer put under intense scrutiny, but he brushed off the criticism on Tuesday night with nothing more than a joke.

“No, I don't agree with you. I invite you out one night and you will see that I like to spend money,” Wenger said when asked about not shelling out money in the transfer window.

“It's you, the press, who gave me that reputation, but my friends don't think that.”

Wenger was clearly pleased with his side’s display that gives them a fighting chance of reaching the last-16 of the Champions League for the 16th consecutive season, with only Real Madrid achieving a longer run.

The 66-year-old Frenchman wanted his squad to come out firing against Zagreb in order to give them a chance of qualifying, and he added that he backs his side to get the right result when they travel to Greece in a fortnight.

“We wanted to come out of the game with a chance to qualify. We needed to do the job and Bayern needed to do the job. Both did it well and it gives us a chance,” Wenger added.

“How big the chance is I don't know, but I believe we can do it. If you can win 1-0 you can win 2-0 as well. For us the task has one advantage - it's very clear.”

(© Independent News Service)

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