By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger did not buy a midfielder during the transfer window because he wanted to make room for young players like Jack Wilshere to blossom in the first team.
The Arsenal manager has been pretty active in the market this summer, recruiting Marouane Chamakh in attack and French duo Laurent Koscielny and Sebastien Squillaci at the back. But some fans were also clamouring for a defensive midfielder to stiffen the spine of the team.
In the end Wenger's only concern in that area was to retain the services of his captain, Cesc Fabregas. Speaking at a Shareholders Q&A on Thursday night, he explained why he did not add to his stable of midfielders.
"I believe that I always wanted to develop the players I have," said Wenger. "For example we have Diaby, we have Song, we have Denilson in this position, we have bought Aaron Ramsey - 18 years old - in this position, and now Jack Wilshere develops in this position.
"The problem when you develop a young team, for example we have Jack who was born in 1992 - 18 years old - is that if I don't make room for him he will go somewhere.
"People will say to me: 'Why did you let him go? Look at what a good player he is.' But if you don't play him [he will go] and that's the tricky situation of developing young players. First you have to scout them, then give them a good education but the final part is to be strong enough to say 'I will give this boy a chance to play'.
"The first two stages are not too difficult but the third stage you have to be strong, to face the critics and the people who want always the best players in the world and to say 'No, I believe in you, I will give you a chance.' And I believe if we can be proud of one thing we did in recent years, it is that we have done that very well with a lot of support from the Board.
"But it is time now for us to keep these players together and to develop them and to win. Then we can say we have created something special with a style of play we wanted to create, that is unique, with the values that we want to put forward at the Club, and as well with an expectation level to have a team together for a few years.
"That is why we were absolutely adamant to keep Fabregas as well because we have worked hard in the last five years to get this team together."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