By Richard Clarke

Big performances reassure the fans more than big signings, according to Arsène Wenger.

The Arsenal manager is as famous for his frugality in the transfer market as he is for his ability to spot unseen talent. Speaking ahead of the season-opener against West Brom, the Frenchman admitted he had missed out on major names in the past – including Franck Ribery – however his “reasonable, shrewd” transfer policy had been in the long-term interests of the Club.

“I think you always want to buy the players at the right price,” said Wenger. “When you want to move a club forward, as I think I have done here in the last 10 years, some investment is needed. Not only to buy players but to spot players when they are not necessarily stars. The quality of a manager is as well to develop players.

“Big signings reassure the fans, but performances are better.

“[For example] when we bought Adebayor who was thinking that he is a great player? We bought him for what you can call at the time a reasonable price.

“But it is not necessarily linked with the price of the players, it is linked with the how well the player develops, how good he becomes, and then you assess the situation of the player once he plays. I am able to make signings at high prices but you have to have a cohesion as well in the way you buy.

“Manchester United are in the £20-30 million bracket of the market, Chelsea are in an unlimited bracket, and we have to be in our own bracket - reasonable, but shrewd.

“Of course I have made mistakes. There are players I should have done, but none at £30m.”

The manager was asked directly about a couple of rising stars he had been heavily linked with but did not sign – French winger Ribery and lethal Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Did he seriously try to sign them?
“Ribery yes, Huntelaar no,” the manager replied succinctly. “With Ribery, we had top class players in that position - Rosicky and Hleb.

“So yes I have missed out on a couple of players [in the past]. But frankly it hurts too much to tell you.”

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
15 Aug 2008