Football: Goal spree shows Wenger doesn’t need to spend big

Wenger says the Arsenal squad is "well-balanced quality-wise and numbers-wise".
Wenger says the Arsenal squad is "well-balanced quality-wise and numbers-wise".ST FILE PHOTO

LONDON (AFP) - Arsene Wenger pointed to Arsenal’s 6-0 thrashing of Lyon in the Emirates Cup as proof there is no desperate need to splash out on new signings.

Wenger’s side made a swaggering start to the pre-season tournament at the Emirates Stadium thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alex Iwobi, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla.

The Gunners’ goal spree further strengthened Wenger’s belief that the squad that won the FA Cup and finished third in the Premier League last term are already strong enough for a title challenge this season.

While rivals Manchester City and Manchester United have splashed out on big-money signings since the end of last season, Wenger has only brought in Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech.

And, despite being linked with Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema and Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette in recent weeks, Wenger made it clear he would only be tempted into the transfer market for the right player at the right price.

“We are open-minded but we are not desperate. Today we didn’t have (Danny) Welbeck or (Alexis) Sanchez, who are big players. (Jack) Wilshere didn’t play as well. So we will have a good squad when everyone is back,” Wenger said.

“We are open-minded but many clubs are on the market with big, big money.

“At the moment our squad is well-balanced quality-wise and numbers-wise.

“When you win the FA Cup final scoring four goals and score six today, it shows scoring goals is not our problem.”

Arsenal’s challenge last season was derailed by a slow start that Wenger attributes to a post-World Cup hangover suffered by several of his players.

But, with no international distractions this year, the Frenchman hopes the ruthless manner in which his side dispatched Lyon is a sign they can keep pace with champions Chelsea from the start this time.

“I think we have more cohesion than we had last season and everyone has better focus,” Wenger said.

“Last season, after the World Cup, some players came back mentally exhausted. Hopefully, we can take advantage this season.

“Football is subtle, it’s not mathematics. That means everyone playing for each other, then if you have quality players you have a chance.”

But, asked if he felt this was a golden opportunity for Arsenal to win the English title for the first time since 2004, Wenger struck a more conservative tone.

“Let’s be cautious on that front. We finished third in the league and won the FA Cup, so that is a good basis. Our target is to do better,” he said.

“We will put all our effort in but we know it will be very difficult because the other teams will challenge as well.”