Football: Wenger takes heart as Arsenal sink Spurs
LONDON, England (AFP) - Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal's 1-0 win over north London rivals Tottenham proves they can thrive without any big-money signings.
Wenger has endured a frustrating transfer window marred by his failure to fulfil the Arsenal board's promise to finally splash the cash after eight years without a trophy.
The Gunners boss missed out on Luis Suarez, Gonzalo Higuain and Luiz Gustavo and was subjected to vitriolic abuse from Arsenal fans after his team's opening day defeat at home to Aston Villa.
With the transfer window due to close at 2200GMT (Tuesday, 6am Singapore time) on Monday, Wenger concedes he may have to go through the first half of the season with free transfers Mathieu Flamini and Yaya Sanogo as his only signings.
But if that is the case, he takes heart from the way his side out-played Tottenham, who included five of the seven players signed at a cost of over £100 million (S$197 million) to off-set the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid.
"It was a convincing win overall," Wenger said. "It was our fourth game in two weeks and I knew we could suffer a bit at the end through tiredness.
"But we showed aspects of our game, commitment, desire and defending, that people don't expect to see from us.
"This team has lost one game since March in all competitions and you don't do that with average spirit.
"I'm not against spending money but I only want to add super quality to our squad.
"Tottenham got a lot of money for Bale. They have to invest it. I can understand that. The need is different for us." While Wenger maintains he is happy enough with his current squad, he has been linked with deadline day swoops for Real Madrid trio Karim Benzema, Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria, while he could also return with a second offer for Newcastle's Yohan Cabaye.
"In 24 more hours maybe we can surprise you, maybe not," Wenger said.
"I am ready to pay what we can afford, even if the price is a bit over the mark, as long as it's not crazy.
"It is a little bit a domino effect. When some deals happen then others can. It is very difficult to predict." One of the keys to Wenger's confidence that Arsenal can enjoy a successful season without major improvements is his belief that Olivier Giroud is on the verge of a breakthrough campaign.
The French striker earned mixed reviews after an inconsistent first season with the Gunners, but he has made a flying start this term, scoring four times in his first five matches, including a 23rd minute winner against Spurs on Sunday.
Wenger hinted that his interest in signing another striker may also have acted as a wake-call to the former Montpellier star.
"Maybe that woke something up in him," Wenger said. "He had a good physical presence and was good technically. It was an excellent centre forward's display." Tottenham's first defeat of the season carried extra frustration given that the two north London rivals are likely to be fighting for a top-four finish later in the campaign.
But boss Andre Villas-Boas could have few complaints after a disjointed display from his team that suggested life without Bale won't all be plain sailing.
Yet Bale's prolonged move, confirmed an hour after full-time at the Emirates, has funded Villas-Boas's massive rebuilding job and the former Chelsea chief has no doubts his new signings will eventually prove their worth.
"When you have this type of quality individually it can help you achieve good things," he said.
"I agree we need to gel but it is something we have to work on. It will come from time, through matches. I'm very confident.
"Change creates expectations and raises anxiety in people. But we have to move forward, we believe this can be our season." With Bale gone, Villas-Boas can finally focus on his new era and he claimed deadline day would be quiet after a frantic few weeks.
"We might do a couple of loans to other clubs but I don't think we will buy anyone," he added.