By Chris Harris

Chelsea have started to move closer towards Arsenal’s financial model, according to Arsène Wenger.

While the Frenchman’s club has pursued a policy of self-sustainability in recent years, the champions have been one of European football’s biggest spenders thanks to the largesse of owner Roman Abramovich, who arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2003.

At the time David Dein, Arsenal’s former vice-chairman, famously declared that Abramovich had “parked his Russian tanks on our lawn and is firing £50 notes at us” but Chelsea’s spending has been far more measured in recent years and they made a net profit during the last transfer window.

Wenger acknowledges that Sunday’s opponents have reined themselves in.

“They have become more sensible with time because they realise it's only a short-term situation,” he said.

“You only have to look at what happened to Portsmouth and Leeds. You only look at clubs who have unlimited resources but all the mismanaged clubs died before. Nobody survived.

“What’s surprising is that what looks sensible looks crazy,” he went on.

“I'm not the only sensible person but the fact that I manage a club in a sensible way looks crazy. The biggest reproach I get is ‘why do you manage the Club in the right way?’

“The fans want big players on the pitch and they want to win football games - I can understand that. But I'm responsible for the future of the Club.

“I can understand why Chelsea manage in their own way because they can support the deficit. But we can't.”

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
1 Oct 2010