Make your mind up on new Arsenal deal, frustrated Arsène Wenger tells Theo Walcott
Arsenal manager says football is 'much deeper and much bigger than splashing cash about'
Saturday 08 December 2012
Arsène Wenger insists that Arsenal's cautious approach to spending is on the right side of history, but admits the failure to tie Theo Walcott to a new contract has left him "frustrated".
The forward's deal expires this summer and the club have not yet been able to offer him the terms he wants. His manager conceded yesterday that the parties "have not made any progress" and told the England international "to make up his mind".
Although there is no public threat to sell Walcott in January if he does not sign, his eventual departure would be yet another failure by Arsenal to keep one of their best players. However, Wenger is adamant that the club's approach is correct and the lavish spending of Chelsea and Manchester City is not.
Since Arsenal's last title those clubs, funded by billionaires, have won four Premier League titles and five FA Cups between them. Wenger's side are currently in 10th place in the league, already 12 points behind City.
"Football is not only to splash money out and work, it is about patience and the pride to create your own players," Wenger said. "I always said that. I continue to believe that. I have big respect for the passion about the game in England. I have big respect for this country. But football is more than just splashing out. It's much deeper, much bigger than that. It is about sweat, thinking, working hard."
Wenger has watched while foreign money at Chelsea and City has taken them well beyond Arsenal off and on the pitch, but the Frenchman proudly claimed that his methods were closer to the treasured traditions of the English game.
"You have a big tradition of that in England," Wenger said of that old hard mental work, which he feels is being lost in a sea of imported cash. "I believe the pride of this country historically is built on that. It's what makes this football strong and interesting.
"If you go to Nottingham Forest, they have won the league; if you go to Aston Villa, they have won the league. That means historically this country has always been about effort, thoughtful thinking about the game. I am scared all these qualities today have less importance in the game."
With Arsenal pursuing their famous "self-sustaining model", Wenger is under vocal pressure from his supporters to keep pace with City and Chelsea's spending. Arsenal have bought players in the last few years but no one for nearly as much as City and Chelsea paid for Sergio Aguero or Fernando Torres respectively.
But Wenger insisted he would not alter his approach to catch up. "It won't change," he said. "It doesn't mean we will not spend money. I am always painted like a guy who refuses to spend money, like a greedy guy, and people who live with me can tell you that. But I just think I act like a responsible manager because we went through a period where we had restricted funds and I acted in a responsible way."
Wenger recognised that money did help to improve teams but said he would "continue to believe" there were other important things too. "If needed, we want to be the best. But the best is not only about buying players. We need to continue with what has made our strengths until now.
"I don't say that money doesn't play a part in it, but it's not only about that. We have to continue to believe that it's not only about that. What is the game about, then? Football has to be even, interesting, unpredictable. Nobody can tell you what will happen in Man City v United but it has to be level chances as well."
Wenger also said he was "quite amazed" by speculation that Bacary Sagna would leave Arsenal, given that negotiations over a contract extension were "very positive.
"He has one and a half years of his contract to go," Wenger said. "We are in negotiations which are very positive. These statements [about a wish to leave] are completely opposite of the feelings we have with the player and about his extension."
Latest in Sport
Radamel Falcao exclusive: Forward says joining Manchester United is a 'dream come true'
Transfer deadline day: The best memes and tweets, featuring Radamel Falcao, Javier Hernandez and Bart Simpson
Arsenal transfer news: Ray Parlour urges Arsene Wenger to make late move for Edinson Cavani
WWE Raw preview: Will John Cena continue to defy the threat of Brock Lesnar?
Danny Welbeck to Arsenal: Arsene Wenger pictured in Rome as club close in on Manchester United striker for £17m
- 1 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 2 Emma Watson on Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak: 'Even worse than seeing women's privacy violated is reading the comments'
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain