Extravagant Wenger avoids late transfer rush


When Alex Song's £15 million transfer from Arsenal to Barcelona went through at the start of last week, Arsène Wenger had almost exactly balanced the books on his summer's spending, adding that sum to the £24 million due from Manchester United for Robin van Persie and offsetting it against the fees for Santi Cazorla (£16.5m), Olivier Giroud (£13m) and Lukas Podolski (£11m). By Wenger's standards, this is almost extravagant, since he normally turns a profit; and it would become even more so if he were to splash out on Yann M'Vila of Rennes after losing Real Madrid's Nuri Sahin to Liverpool.

Yet, as Wenger continued to emphasise before today's visit to old adversaries Stoke City, there is no shortage of midfield players at the club, even with Jack Wilshere and Emmanuel Frimpong suffering from long-term injuries. Arsenal having done most of their business early this summer, there will certainly be no repeat of last year's frantic supermarket sweep as midnight on Friday (Central European Time) strikes and agents turn back into harmless – although much richer – mice.

The agents provocateurs would do better to concentrate this week on the other end of the Seven Sisters Road, asTottenham seem likely to be busier than anyone else. Emmanuel Adebayor is back after last season's loan and Luka Modric's long-predicted departure to Real Madrid will allow at least one midfielder such as Joao Moutinho to be brought in.

Securing the striker Leandro Damiao from Internacional would have made Jermain Defoe keener to leave, but Andre Villas-Boas has sensibly decided against it.

Chelsea seem certain to remain the biggest spenders, their £80m splurge on Eden Hazard, Oscar, Marko Marin, Victor Moses and Cesar Azpilicueta showing scant regard for Uefa's Financial Fair Play regulations, which are otherwise credited with having had a cooling effect on the market. Chelsea would recoup a third of their outlay by selling David Luiz to Barcelona, without which their next accounts will hardly impress the gnomes of Nyon.

Manchester United could well end up outspending their neighbours City; an outcome that would not please Roberto Mancini, who wants a busy few days' work from his football administrator, Brian Marwood. Although a truce has been declared between them, the latter is believed to be keener than Mancini on recruiting young British players with possible sell-on value, such as the former England Under-21 team-mates Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair. Liverpool's Daniel Agger, being Danish and overpriced, does not come into either category.

A bad start to the season is often the impetus for late spending, which would apply to Queens Park Rangers, as they strengthen their defence after a shock – and shocking – 5-0 defeat at home to Swansea. They would like to add a goalkeeper to the proposed signing of Tottenham's centre-half Michael Dawson.

Outside the Premier League, any deal involving a seven-figure fee these days causes eyebrows to be raised, Blackburn's £3m for Leon Best of Newcastle being by far the highest to date and making it more incumbent than ever on the manager, Steve Kean, to deliver results. From this year the Football League have introduced their own FFP rules, loosely based on Uefa's, in which permitted losses will reduce from £4m last season to only £2m by 2015-16 – about one per cent of Manchester City's last annual deficit.

Stoke City v Arsenal is on Sky Sports 1 today, kick-off 1.30pm

Five that could happen this week

Luka Modric Spurs turned down £40m from Chelsea last summer and will push Real Madrid as close as possible to that figure before allowing the Croatian to leave.

Scott Sinclair Having failed to make the grade at Chelsea but impressed at Swansea, the winger hopes his move to Manchester City can be pushed through now Adam Johnson has left.

Julio Cesar The experienced Internazionale goalkeeper is prepared to join Queens Park Rangers. A sticking point could be his insistence on being No 1 ahead of Robert Green.

Clint Dempsey Effectively on strike at Fulham, the American will be in a difficult position if Liverpool do not come to his rescue in the next six days.

Douglas A proposed deal to take the Twente defender to Fulham has stalled and Newcastle hope to take advantage. Born in Brazil but not capped, he is now eligible for Holland.

Steve Tongue

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