Arsene Wenger insists that Arsenal do not need new signings to compete.
Speaking to Arsenal fans in an online Q&A session, the Arsenal manager stated that while the club is still looking to bring in new players, he is confident that Arsenal will be better next season regardless of whether or not there are new arrivals.
John Cross of The Mirror quotes Wenger as saying:
We are still working on improving our squad, but we have a basis of young players who are getting a chance here, who started in the Premier League.
Wojciech Szczesny, Carl Jenkinson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott.
They are all players who started in the Premier League with us. No-one else has done that.
I believe all of those players have a special bond and are on the way up - they are not over the hill. They will be better next season and that’s why I’m confident we will be stronger.
In a sense Wenger is right: Arsenal will be stronger. The young players and their “special bond” should improve year on year, and Arsenal will be better for it. However, will they be strong enough to mount a challenge for silverware? Probably not.
It’s understandable that Wenger has to publicly defend his existing squad. It would be counter-productive and demotivating to announce to the world that he doesn’t believe his current charges have what it takes to end Arsenal’s wait for trophies.
However, Wenger must surely privately recognise that this Arsenal squad requires reinforcements. Thus far, Arsenal have signed only the France youth international striker Yaya Sanogo. The Gunners have also allowed a whole host of squad players to depart, meaning they lack strength in depth like never before. Arsenal need numbers, and they need quality. Time is running out.
All the talk is of the Gunners’ high-stakes move for Liverpool forward Luis Suarez. The latest from The Mirror’s John Cross is that the player’s camp are angered by Liverpool’s intransigence. They feel that Liverpool have reneged on a deal to do business on Suarez if a bid arrived that was worth more than £35 million.
It’s clear that this deal will be complex and convoluted. Arsene Wenger must remember that while signing a new striker is clearly a priority, it is not Arsenal’s only requirement.
The Arsenal squad currently contains only three senior centre-backs. Thomas Vermaelen is currently injured, meaning that Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker are the club’s only remaining fit centre-halves.
Similarly, with Francis Coquelin having left the club on loan, there is no obvious deputy for Mikel Arteta in the defensive midfield role.
Worryingly for Arsenal fans, there is barely a whisper about Arsenal bidding for players in these key positions.
Arsenal’s focus on Suarez threatens to derail their other transfer plans. Arsene Wenger must remember that this summer is about more than luring one marquee player. It’s about transforming the Arsenal squad in to genuine title contenders.
James McNicholas is Bleacher Report's lead Arsenal correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here.
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