By Rob Kelly

Arsène Wenger believes that success in football is about more than merely “splashing out” on big-money signings.

The Arsenal manager has been criticised for not matching the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea in the pursuit of high-profile players.

But the Frenchman insists that the English game is founded on more important principles than simply opening a cheque book.

“I have big respect for the passion about the game in England,” Wenger said. “But football is more than just splashing out. It's much deeper, much bigger than that.

“It's about sweat, thinking, working hard. You have a big tradition of that in England. 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 and thoughtful thinking about the game.

“I am scared that all these qualities today have less importance in the game.”

The Arsenal manager has funds at his disposal - and the Club recently agreed a £150 million sponsorship deal with Emirates - but he insists youth development remains important.

“It won't change, it doesn't mean we will not spend money,” Wenger said. “I am always painted like a guy who refuses to spend money.

“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.

“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.”

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7 Dec 2012