Imagine an Arsenal midfield next season without Hleb, Fabregas and Flamini. Arsene Wenger is trying to make sure that this doesn’t happen and stresses that this is a far greater objective right now, compared to the task of signing new players. Indeed, it’s hard to envisage that the Gunners would even match this season’s achievements without the trio, and it doesn’t look all that good with regard to Hleb and Flamini, both of whom appear to be eyeing a move to Italy.
The Times reports that it simply doesn’t matter if the team are on the verge of greatness. What matters instead is how much a football club are prepared to pay a player. Loyalty is a rare thing these days, although Wenger is clearly going all-out to retain the services of as many squad members as possible.
“There is money there [for transfers], but not as much as I read in the newspapers because that is not true,” Wenger said. “However, with my financial package the first thing I have to make sure is we keep the players we have at the moment. That is what people forget.
“The new rules put you under threat to lose your best players because after three years any player can walk out and after two any player over 28. So the rules and the structure of the wages bill is always under threat. My first target of the summer is to make sure what we have here stays here and after, if there is still money available, to buy players.”
If Wenger loses key players in the team, he’ll have a job on his hands replacing them with similar quality, let alone adding additional talent to the team. With the relative budget at his disposal compared to the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool, is it unreasonable to demand that Arsenal can compete for the title?