Arsene Wenger is ready to take Arsenal's summer spending spree beyond £40million, regardless of whether want-away captain Robin van Persie leaves the Emirates Stadium before the start of the new campaign.
The typically frugal Frenchman has already forked out around £24million on the acquisitions of Lukas Podolski (£11m) and Olivier Giroud (£12.8m) to reinforce the Gunners' forward line, and has also set his sights on a deal for highly rated Malaga midfielder Santi Cazorla for a reported £16million.
That move alone will usurp the club's £15million record transfer fee paid to bring Russian international Andrey Arshavin to north London in January 2009, marking an uncharacteristic transfer splurge by the Arsenal boss.
Cazorla made two appearances in Spain's Euro 2012 triumph in Poland and Ukraine last month, and the 27-year-old winger is widely regarded as one of the most exciting players in La Liga not currently playing for Real Madrid or Barcelona.
Long-term target Yann M'Vila is also still believed to be on Wenger's radar, despite the 62-year-old insisting that there is no room for the £17million rated Rennes midfielder, providing injury-jinxed duo Abou Diaby and Jack Wilshere make full recoveries from the problems that ruled both players out for the entire 2011-12 campaign.
Speaking after Arsenal's opening game on their tour of the Far East, a 2-1 friendly victory over a Malaysian XI, the Gunners chief confirmed: "We have bought Giroud and Podolski and I hope that we have 'bought' Diaby and Wilshere, who didn't play at all last season.
"They will add to the squad, hopefully as soon as possible. And we are not at the end of it. We will still bring players in."
Mikel Arteta, who joined Wenger in the post-match press conference was asked about fellow Spaniard and reported target Cazorla: "I know him as a player really well and he is a top player," explained the midfielder. "He has a lot of quality and talent."
However, Wenger refused to be drawn on the transfer speculation linking the player with Arsenal, but added: "I share the opinion of Mikel. He is a great player."
The Gunners' 24-man squad - which does not include disillusioned striker Van Persie, or several other first-team regulars, who are working on their fitness back at London Colney - now head for China, where they will face Premier League champions Manchester City in Beijing on Friday.
After seeing his young side come from behind with late goals from Thomas Eisfeld and Benik Afobe, Wenger accepts there is still plenty of room for improvement as Arsenal step up their pre-season preparations ahead of the 2012-13 campaign.
"Overall we still have some tactical work to do and some physical work, but don't forget that some players have only had two or three days training," he reasoned. "Some others have only had a maximum of seven or eight so physically we are far from what we can produce."
With the future of star striker Van Persie never far from anyones thoughts, Wenger also took the opportunity to reiterate his desire for the 28-year-old to remain at Arsenal, despite the bidding war that is reportedly taking place over the Dutchman.
Manchester City, Manchester United and Juventus are all hoping to sign last season's Premier League top goalscorer, after the inspirational skipper revealed he would not be signing a new contract beyond his current deal which expires in 12 months time.
However, Wenger remains defiant that Van Persie is still very much part of the club's future plans, and there is no reason why he will not stay in north London.
"There is nothing to elaborate. The options are clear - we want to keep our players," he told reporters. "I would be happy for him to stay in the English Premier League - at Arsenal."
Meanwhile, the club's ongoing pursuit of 17-year-old striker M'Baye Niang, currently of French side Caen is set to continue, irrespective of what happens with Van Persie. After a successful trial period with the Gunners, Wenger launched a £6million bid, only to see the offer rejected.
With rival interest from Tottenham, Manchester City and Serie A giants AC Milan, Arsenal will need to move quickly if they are serious about securing the French U21's signature.
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