Wenger keeps on believing

Wenger keeps on believing

Published May. 21, 2011 12:37 p.m. ET

Defiant Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger maintains the Gunners have a "strong base" from which to build a sustained challenge for honours next term.

Wenger expects to be busy in the summer, both with players out as well as in, when he aims to add the experience he feels the squad needs after collapsing on all fronts in the wake of their shock Carling Cup final at Wembley to Birmingham.

However, the Arsenal manager insists the horizon is not all doom and gloom despite a sixth campaign without a trophy.

"We do not play for relegation. We have a good team, the best away team. We are top of the 'top four' league," Wenger said.


"The loss of the Carling Cup had a huge impact on the team and we did not handle it well.

"We have enough quality to beat anyone in the world, even with the current squad. You have a Champions League final and only one team has beaten both of them - Arsenal.

"It is not catastrophic and do not think we can go to Coventry and find the player who saves Arsenal Football Club.

"We need to add, of course, and we will do, but we have a strong base."

Blackburn England Under-21 central defender Phil Jones is a target, along with Ewood Park team-mate Christopher Samba, as Wenger aims to shore up the backline.

The Gunners meanwhile are also reported to be closing in on young Argentinian midfielder Ricky Alvarez from Velez Salsfields, who already has Italian citizenship.

The Arsenal manager, though, is also set to jettison some of his under-performing squad players.

Brazilian Denilson has made it clear his future lies elsewhere, while goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, Emmanuel Eboue, Carlos Vela and even Russian Andrey Arshavin could also be allowed to leave.

Whoever Wenger brings in, however, the deal will not bust the bank.

"I always try to get value for money, that is the job of a football manager," the Gunners boss said.

"In England, it is a bit more difficult because player inflation is higher than everywhere else.

"When you only have a few players at many clubs, the price is too high."

With assistant manager Pat Rice set to stay on for at least next season, there are unlikely to be any major changes to Wenger's backroom staff.

The Arsenal manager, however, maintains he is "open minded" to calls for a fresh voice in the dugout.

"I speak openly with them and ask for their opinions. After I make the decisions. That is the democracy we have here," the French coach said.

"The problem when you don't win is to always raise the right questions. Those who win the games are those on the football pitch and not those who talk in the stands.

"I have enough experience to know what is important and what is less than important.

"It will be difficult to find a coach who teaches me how to manage a football team."