Arsenal have been linked with imminent big-money moves for a host of attacking luminaries, including Schalke’s sought after Germany forward Julian Draxler, but if one of their former targets is to be believed, the north Londoners’ pockets may not be quite as deep as they’re letting on.
Transfer moves were expected to be made in earnest at the Emirates after the Gunners’ last game of the Premier League season away to Norwich, where Arsene Wenger’s side are 87/100 to sign off their campaign with a win.
However, recent claims from the French boss that Arsenal must “continue to develop as a team” and “are looking at aspects where we can improve internally” will sound all too familiar to long-suffering Gooners who would rather like their club to just spend some money.
While it is conceded that last summer’s £42.5m outlay on Mesut Ozil was no trifle, that marquee signing was clearly an exception to the Arsenal rule and brought their net transfer spending to just over £10m in six years.
To put that into context, Chelsea have raided their coffers to the tune of more than £300m during that period, while Premier League champions elect Manchester City’s six-year net spend is around £500m and protestations from Wenger that he has elected to build on a budget may be called into question following revelations from Brazilian winger Bernard.
The 21-year-old former Atletico Mineiro winger has been quoted stating that, prior to his move to Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar Donetsk:
“We had offers from Tottenham, and according to my Atletico president Arsenal were interested too, but didn’t have the money.”
Bernard eventually joined Shakhtar for €25m and did enough in his first year in Donetsk to earn a place in hosts and 3/1 favourites Brazil’s 23-man squad for the upcoming World Cup, ahead of the likes of Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and Paris Saint-Germain’s Lucas Moura.
Arsenal fans will be particularly irked at – presumably – being outbid by their less successful neighbours, but what will worry them more is Wenger’s reluctance to accept the failings within his underperforming squad.
The 66-year-old bizarrely insisted that his team won the top flight’s ‘stamina league’ after spending 128 days at the division’s summit this term, even though Arsenal will finish fourth and outside the top two places for the ninth-consecutive season.