Arsene Wenger defends his record in transfer market despite Arsenal's failure to sign Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez

On eve of crucial Champions League tie, Arsenal manager hits out at critics and insists signings will be made

Istanbul

Arsène Wenger has launched a passionate defence of Arsenal's record in the transfer market and moved to reassure supporters that the club has plenty of time to act before the window closes on 2 September.

During a terse exchange with reporters here in Turkey on the eve of the Gunners' Champions League play-off first leg against Fenerbahce, the Arsenal manager bristled at suggestions Tottenham were threatening to steal a march on their north London rivals as they closed in on the £60m capture of Willian from Anzhi Makhachkala and Roma's Erik Lamela. Arsenal have never finished below Spurs in the league during Wenger's near 17-year tenure and have always featured in Europe's premier competition, often at Tottenham's expense.

The Gunners' sole summer signing to date remains French unknown Yaya Sanogo and, despite growing fan unrest, Wenger said: "I am not happy when our fans are not happy because my job is to make them happy. But I cannot listen every minute to every state of mind for everybody.

"I have to focus on and do what I always do – what is important for this club. You cannot look all the time in life at what others do and what you do. You do what is right for you.

"I would just like to reiterate to you that in the last 16 years we have been very successful with transfers. And if you look at the players who play tomorrow, they are top-quality players. And you should never forget that. It is not always to think what is outside is better than what you have. What is important as well is to rate what you have and our fans have to understand that as well.

"Less than two weeks is a long time and 75 per cent of things happen in the last 10 days. What happens is that we are a bit short because we lost two players, Chamberlain and Arteta, in three days for long periods.

"So we are a bit short now but I don't worry because I believe in the players we have, and the quality of their spirit and attitude will come out again. For the rest we have a long time to do what we want to do."

Arsenal had a £10m bid for midfielder Yohan Cabaye angrily rejected by Newcastle on Monday, with their manager, Alan Pardew, claiming the offer was "disrespectful" as it forced the Magpies to withdraw the 27-year-old from their squad hours before a 4-0 defeat to Manchester City.

Asked to explain his interest in Cabaye, Wenger reacted spikily once more. "There's nothing to explain," he said.

Arséne Wenger rejected transfer criticism on Tuesday Arséne Wenger rejected transfer criticism on Tuesday (Getty)
"You have your opinions. First of all, you don't know what we have done, you don't know if we did bid and you have come to a conclusion without knowing everything that has happened. It's quite amazing that all of the people don't know and yet they always have opinions about things they don't know.

"I won't explain to you what happened. It's not down to me to explain to you everything I do. It's impossible. If we do a transfer we will announce it. We always inform you. As for the rest, you have to leave us to do our own things.

"We don't want to hurt anybody, not Newcastle, not anybody. You can't reproach us on one side for not buying and yet on the other side when we try to buy to reproach us as well. That is a bit contradictory."

Of more immediate concern is the preservation of Arsenal's unbroken participation in the Champions League under Wenger.

They flirted with disaster at this stage two years ago, somewhat fortuitously coming through a tight two-legged play-off against Udinese, winning 3-1 on aggregate.

Arsenal have never lost a play-off in this competition and can draw on their past form here, having won 5-2 with a typically chaotic display of attacking football during the group stage in October 2008.

Defeat would heap further pressure on Wenger and complicate the picture in trying to attract new players, given the ensuing uncertainty over exactly what European competition they could offer.

Fenerbahce also begin this fixture against a tumultuous backdrop. Just hours before Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi starts proceedings at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium, a hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will begin in Lausanne to determine the outcome of Fenerbahce's appeal against a two-year suspension from European competition for match-fixing. The CAS has confirmed its decision will be announced on Wednesday – the morning after next week's second leg – but confusingly, Uefa insists no decision has yet been made on what will happen if Fenerbahce win the tie but then lose their appeal.

Arsenal must ensure their ongoing participation does not rest on such legal uncertainties.

Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
News
Stephen Hawking is reportedly taking steps to trademark his name
people
Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor