Premier League

Wenger: Arsenal can challenge for title

Arsene Wenger is confident in his team's ability to challenge for the Premier League title.
Arsene Wenger is confident in his team's ability to challenge for the Premier League title.
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Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal can win the Premier League title - even if they fail to lure Luis Suarez from Liverpool.

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Wenger's pursuit of Suarez looks to have stalled since the Reds rejected a second improved bid of just over £40million, with boss Brendan Rodgers declaring the Uruguayan worth a sum nearer to the £100million touted for Tottenham's Gareth Bale.

The Gunners have signed only France Under-20 forward Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer but Wenger was defiant when asked if he felt his squad, as it was, could challenge the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City.

"Yes, of course. I am confident. Why should I sit here and say to you we can absolutely not win the title with the players we have?" Wenger said after Saturday's pre-season 2-2 draw with Napoli in the Emirates Cup.

Wenger refused to talk explicitly about Arsenal's continued attempt to snare Suarez, instead repeating his determination to keep transfer dealings private.

"I never said we have made a bid to Liverpool, now I can tell you we have made one, so at least that is some information. All the rest, I would like to keep to us," the Frenchman added. "If we progress in that situation, we will inform you. At the moment, that is where we are. We will treat every transfer with the rules we have always done until now, that is in a fair and respectful way. We have one month in front of us and we will work very hard to strengthen our squad, without naming any specific names, because I do not believe that will make negotiations easier.

"When you want to buy any player you need the agreement of the club, of the player and you need to agree a price, so you need three agreements. What is important is we focus on the players we have, that we are not too much drawn into these stories."

Wenger's faith in his current squad looked questionable after some poor first-half defending allowed Lorenzo Insigne and Goran Pandev to put the Italians in command. But an acrobatic goal by Olivier Giroud with 18 minutes left sparked a fightback and Laurent Koscielny headed a dramatic late equaliser.

"It was a good game overall at a good pace against a good side who finished second in Italy last year," Wenger said. "I feel overall over 90 minutes we played going forward. It took us time to adjust defensively, and as well it was a good mental test because from 2-0 down to come back for 2-2 is very impressive."

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