By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger believes Tottenham have the squad to compete in the Champions League.
While the Arsenal manager prepares his players for a 13th-consecutive season in Europe's premier club competition, his opposite number down the Seven Sisters Road is readying Spurs for their first ever assault on the group stage.
Harry Redknapp's team tackle Werder Bremen in Germany tonight and, although the Tottenham manager bolstered his squad during the transfer window, he will be taking a step into the unknown.
History is littered with English teams that have struggled to make a good first impression in the Champions League including Manchester United, Everton, Blackburn and Arsenal themselves. But Wenger expects Spurs to hold their own in a group which also includes FC Twente and holders Inter Milan.
"It is hard for everybody but Tottenham have a quality squad," he said.
"They have brought William Gallas and Rafael van der Vaart and if you look at the number of players they have now you don’t even speak about David Bentley who they brought for £17 million.
"They have Robbie Keane, Nico Krancjar, Luka Modric, Van der Vaart, Roman Pavlyuchenko... they have the quantity. In central defence I don’t know but they must have six or seven central defenders so they have a big enough squad to deal with the physical demands."
Van der Vaart completed a transfer deadline day switch from Real Madrid to Tottenham and his big-game experience with Holland will help his new club. The Dutchman has even tipped Spurs to finish above Arsenal in the Premier League but Wenger is not so sure.
"Well they cannot say they are going to finish below us, can they?" he responded. "They have to show it.
"I believe you adapt to this [European] level of football very quickly, the difficulty is to switch quickly from Champions League to the championship because the Premier League is very demanding. That is difficult, but they have a big squad. They haven’t done it [qualified] by accident and I believe they have what it takes."Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source