Wednesday 20 November 2019

‘Pressure is nothing new for me,’ says Arsenal boss Wenger as he’s handed €60m war chest to strengthen squad

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and coach Steve Bould watch Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in training last month, however, stories have emerged of Bould's limited role in training
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and coach Steve Bould watch Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in training last month, however, stories have emerged of Bould's limited role in training

Jim van Wijk

Arsene Wenger has spoken about the pressure he feels he is under to bring success back to Arsenal.

The Frenchman is facing one of the biggest tests of his 16-year tenure this season following the Gunners' Capital One Cup defeat at Bradford this week on the back of indifferent form in the Barclays Premier League.

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has apologised to supporters for the recent setbacks and fans' groups say he pledged to make "significant funds" – speculated to be up to €61m - available to Wenger to strengthen the squad in January.

Wenger has long championed the club's drive to emulate their successes of the past by living within their own means after moving from Highbury and speaking prior to the midweek defeat to Bradford, he spoke about the demands on him to succeed.

"I always feel under pressure to deliver, always," he said.

"You can only be successful if you question yourself, because the game has become bigger and better. With teams like Chelsea and Man City coming in, I think we have to do what we do even better," Wenger said .

"You can only be good in life if you do what you believe is right.

"We have always managed the club with its own resources, given a chance to young players and developed a style of play that we think is right. After it works, it gives us a consistency at the top level that develops a sense of trust.

"We may have a lack of experience in winning trophies recently, but we are always at the top and very close to winning the championship or winning the Champions League."

Former Arsenal midfielder Stewart Robson - at the club from 1981 to 1986 - branded Wenger "a dictator in many ways".

The French coach feels his considerable influence at Arsenal is positive.

"I feel responsible for the evolution of the club. When you've been here for 16 years, you're part of the history and the guy who is responsible for the values that the club wants to show in all aspects of daily life," Wenger added.

"If a manager stays at a club for 15 years, he is a 'memory' of the club. It gives you a kind of authority, because people respect the way you behave and the way you do things."

Arsenal recently announced a €185million contract extension with main sponsors Emirates Airlines.

Arsenal are expected to make some moves in the new year, with another loan deal for former club captain Thierry Henry still on the agenda. The likes of Newcastle frontman Demba Ba, Schalke forward Klaas Jan Huntelaar, Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente and Crystal Palace's England international Wilfried Zaha all said to be on Wenger's shopping list.

The future of contract rebel Theo Walcott, meanwhile, must also soon be resolved one way or another.

Former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour, part of the squad which won three Premier League titles, has urged Wenger to jettison some of the deadwood in the current squad next month.

"This transfer window is going to be vital for Arsene Wenger," Parlour said.

"Everybody's saying there's £50million (€61m) to spend, but I think he's also got to look at trying to get a few players out of the club as well - the likes of (Marouane) Chamakh and (Andrey) Arshavin, (Nicklas) Bendtner could be coming back, people like that, Denilson's on loan at the moment.

"All those sort of players - do they really want to play for Arsenal? That's the ones you have to really try to move on, and then buy a bit more quality."

Arsenal will also be without Gervinho at the start of 2013 when he represents the Ivory Coast at the African Nations Cup

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