Wenger delivers the news Arsenal fans have been waiting for… I'm ready to spend big now the stadium is paid off
Jim Van Wijk, Press Association
16:59 GMT, 15 January 2013
18:06 GMT, 15 January 2013
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says the club are ready to 'spend big' again.
The Gunners slumped to a 2-0 home defeat by Manchester City on Sunday which saw them lose further ground on the top four of the Barclays Premier League.
Wenger insists Arsenal are in the market to bolster their squad during the January transfer window but will only do so if they can find the right quality.
Keeping watch: Arsene Wenger oversees training with assistant manager Steve Bould on Tuesday
The Gunners have been linked with a string of players across Europe, with Lyon playmaker Yoann Gourcuff and West Ham midfielder Mohamed Diame the latest rumoured to be on Wenger's radar.
But he is also keen to have a core of players who are already at the club – like Barcelona – with a new contract for Theo Walcott expected to be pushed through shortly.
With Arsenal set to see new commercial deals kick in following their 390million move to the Emirates Stadium and with plenty of cash in reserve – resources which were further boosted by last summer's 24m sale of captain Robin van Persie to Manchester United – Wenger insists he will be able to invest heavily in the playing staff.
In training: Jack Wilshere (left) and Santi Cazorla will feature for Arsenal in their Cup replay against Swansea
'My plan is to keep all of the players we have and then to add maybe, if possible, two new players to the squad. We will spend big (again) because we had restricted finances because we had built the stadium and had to pay that back,' Wenger said in an interview with Al Jazeera Sport recorded before the City defeat and broadcast on talkSPORT this morning.
'You look at any club who has done that, and they have gone down (in performance).
'We stayed at the top level, yes without winning the Premier League, but we were always at the top level.
'Now we have come out in a much stronger position financially again, so we can spend.
'But our way is a bit like Barcelona as well, to produce the core of the team from inside and add from outside the players who give really a plus.'
Wenger accepts Arsenal will always be an easy target for those who claim the board put the balance sheet ahead of success on the pitch.
'The biggest challenge so far is to convince people we have a good team, that we have good quality and that we lead the club in the right way, because many people doubt that,' the Frenchman continued.
'I am convinced this team has a
fantastic mentality, fantastic quality and with the right level of
confidence, if we can create the momentum, we can be a positive surprise
until the end of the season.'
Wenger may have transformed Arsenal's fortunes since taking
over at Highbury in September 1996, but he accepts his time
will soon 'be up' as the club must one day look for new leadership.
No deal: Theo Walcott is yet to sign a new contract with Arsenal
Arsenal v Swansea: Team News
Arsenal will be without suspended defender Laurent Koscielny and injured midfielder Mikel Arteta (calf) for tomorrow's FA Cup third-round replay against Swansea at Emirates Stadium.
Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky (calf) is also sidelined. Forward Gervinho is away at the African Nations Cup with Ivory Coast.
Provisional Squad: Szczesny, Gibbs, Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Sagna, Podolski, Cazorla, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wilshere, Walcott, Mannone, Coquelin, Santos, Jenkinson, Diaby, Giroud, Arshavin.
'It is (time up), because I am 63 years old and will not work at 100. That, though, is not the most important, what is important is that when you are somewhere, you give your best,' said Wenger, whose side host Swansea in their FA Cup third-round replay tomorrow night, with Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla set to feature.
'How long will I stay I have a contract until 2014, and I always respected my contracts.
'It is important is that the club goes the right direction – we have a very young team who have fantastic qualities and (it is important) that I help them to get their qualities transformed into positive results.
'Let's not forget that last year we finished third (in the Premier League), as long as that is seen as a disaster, it is not too bad for the future of the club.'