Frugal Frenchman sticks to his Guns

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Arsene Wenger says he’s not prepared to jeopardise the financial stability of the club by splashing the cash in order to end a six-year wait without a trophy at a stroke.

The philosophical Frenchman has always understood and accepted the Arsenal way, and neither he nor the board are about to change their stance on club finances.

Wenger will continue to build and re-build, bring through young talent and track down potential stars of the future from the continent. He’s done it many times before, he will do again.

Okay, so the critics will point to those six, trophy-less years and say the Arsenal boss has to spend if the Gunners are to close the gap on the big three – and keep ahead of rivals Spurs.

Fans too have complained that Wenger doesn’t spend enough money in the transfer market, while rivals Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea continue to shell out big bucks on star names.

But the Arsenal manager insists that balancing the books will keep the club in high esteem against their competitors, particularly with the new financial fair play rules coming into force over the next few years.

“We work like everyone should, with a balance between revenue and expenditure,' Wenger said. “When this is not the case, it puts a club in danger. We try to combine three factors: a style of play, sensible management and human qualities.”

When comparing Arsenal’s spending since Wenger took the managerial post in 1996, the figures are quite bafflingly low to that of the other big clubs. From June 2004, for example, Chelsea have forked out £69.1 million in reported managerial pay outs alone, while Arsenal have made a net profit of £20.56 million in player spending.

Wenger believes that this shows how successful the club has been, despite Arsenal going six seasons without a trophy. “It's hard to understand why we are criticised. Because we did not win? Yes, that's true, there were stronger teams than us,” Wenger said.

“But we have not been out of the top four for 15 years and, for me, the true value of a team is consistency.”

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