Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Manchester United are gearing up for a summer of heavy spending.
The Red Devils are fast becoming notorious for their excessive transfer budgets and are expected to splash the cash when the season comes to a close.
Louis van Gaal has already agreed a £25m deal to sign PSV Eindhoven star Memphis Depay and was today linked with a £45m move for Tottenham's Harry Kane.
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Ilkay Gundogan, Mats Hummels and even Gareth Bale have also been tipped to move to Old Trafford in big money deals to supplement the likes of Angel di Maria, Andre Herrera, Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw and Daley Blind; all of whom arrived last summer for a combined estimate of £150m.
Wenger has been frugal historically, but has himself spent big in the last two summers. The Arsenal manager spent almost £100m on Alexis Sanchez, Danny Welbeck, David Ospina, Calum Chambers and Mathieu Debuchy in the summer, later adding Gabriel and Kristian Bielik in January.
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But Arsenal won't be to keep up with Manchester United, who are benefitting from incomparable commercial revenue. Wenger expects Van Gaal to take full advantage of his transfer budget.
"I expect Manchester United to be active in the transfer market," he told reporters. "Every player I am offered, Man Utd are already on his case!"
Arsenal will make their second trip to Old Trafford of the season this Sunday and will be hoping to make it two wins out of two. But a draw would all but seal at least third place for Arsenal and cement Manchester United's place in fourth.
That has big repercussions for United as they will have to play a two-legged match against strong competition to qualify for the group stages.
Easing the pressure
Third place would go straight into the competition and will find it easier to sign players if they can offer a guarantee of Champions League football. It will give whoever gets it an easier start to the season.
Arsenal's campaign almost reached disaster after they narrowly qualified against Besiktas. Crashing out at that stage would not only be disastrous from a footballing prospective but a financial one too.
“It is the pressure and the consequences of not qualifying that is massive,” said Wenger. “What is even more important now is that the international competitions force you most of the time to start the new season without your players.
“You cannot give them a long enough rest when they have played international games. You know that in England we have no break in the winter. That’s sometimes difficult to deal with.
“It’s very important for your season preparations to not have that kind of stress over your head from the first day you start again, it’s vital. We know what it means and we know it’s always tricky because you can play against teams who are in the middle of their championship when you are in preparation. The consequences are always dramatic if you don’t qualify.
“It’s difficult [to sign players]. They think that most of the time you’re playing in the Champions League but you’re not sure. The only thing we can say is that statistically we have always done it.”
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