Arsene Wenger not ruling out deadline buys for Arsenal after derby win against Tottenham Hotspur
Sunday 01 September 2013
Manager Arsene Wenger revealed Arsenal could yet spring a “surprise” in the final 24 hours of the transfer window after watching his team beat big-spending Tottenham 1-0 in the north London derby with a first-half goal from Olivier Giroud at the Emirates Stadium.
Spurs may have been without Real Madrid-bound Gareth Bale, but their £100million-plus summer spree saw plenty of talent in Andre Villas-Boas' match-day squad, with £26million man Erik Lamela starting on the bench following his transfer from Roma that was finalised on Friday.
However, it was Arsenal - having so far brought in only two free transfers - who earned the bragging rights after Giroud tucked home his fourth goal in five appearances after 23 minutes which proved enough to settle an entertaining, but also heated, contest.
Wenger had seen bids for Gonzalo Higuain, Luis Suarez and Yohan Cabaye all fail to come off earlier this summer. But with Bale's mega-money move to Madrid having finally being confirmed at 7pm on Sunday evening, Arsenal could now up their interest in Karim Benzema, Mesut Ozil and Angel di Maria before the window closes at 11pm on September 2.
"I am not against spending money, but I want to add super quality to our squad - or not," said Wenger, who moved to allay fears over the fitness of England midfielder Jack Wilshere after he was substituted just before half-time with what transpired to be stomach problems.
"Tottenham got a lot of money for Bale, they have to invest it - I understand that. The need is different for us, we need one or two super players and we will try to add that.
"We have 24 more hours, so maybe we can surprise you. Maybe not, but I am confident."
Wenger feels now Bale's 100 million euros (£86.3million) switch has been completed, other projected transfers could now into place.
He added: "It is a little bit like a domino game. Maybe something will happen in the last 24 hours, maybe not. It is very difficult to predict."
Arsenal may be sitting on a £70m war chest, but Wenger insists the club will not be held to ransom as the last-gasp shopping dash begins.
"I am not against spending. I am ready to pay what we can afford, even if it is a bit over the market (value) and as long as it is not crazy," he said.
There was brief cause for concern for England boss Roy Hodgson, ahead of the World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine, as Wilshere signalled to the bench he could not continue just before half-time.
But that worry was eased somewhat by the player himself, who later confirmed it was a sickness bug which had forced him off.
"He has a stomach bug, but nothing that will stop him from playing for England," said Wenger, who had to put full-back Bacary Sagna on the bench because of a similar issue.
Arsenal have responded well since they lost the opening Barclays Premier League game at home to Aston Villa, winning at Fulham and also securing a place in the group stages of the Champions League by beating Fenerbahce both home and away.
"Overall it was a convincing win in a very intense game," Wenger said.
"There were aspects in our game that people are not used to seeing from us, that means commitment, desire, defending.
"I am one of the few who never doubted that (team spirit). This team has lost one game since March in all competitions. You don't do that with an average spirit."
Tottenham lost midfielder Etienne Capoue - signed from Toulouse in a £9m deal - to a suspected broken leg during the second half, adding to the disappointment for Villas-Boas.
The Spurs boss said: "The fairest result would be a draw bearing in mind what we did in the second half.
"We put pressure on their goal, but there were not enough clear-cut chances."
Villas-Boas, however, insists having so many new faces in his squad is no issue as they look to gel into a side capable of breaking into the top four.
"It is not a concern, and is something we have to work on," said the former Chelsea boss.
"At the moment it is difficult because of the international break, but I think it will come with time because the ability is there."
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