‘Players want to be in Champions League’

Arsene Wenger believes qualifying for the Champions League significantly enhances clubs’ ability to attract the very best players.

Arsenal are in a strong position to reach the group stage after beating Fenerbahce 3-0 in the first leg of their play-off tie on Wednesday.

Wenger says this has strengthened the Club’s position in the market as transfer deadline day draws closer.

“Everybody says to us, ‘You are happy with Champions League football’," he said. “Of course we are happy with it - but we want more.

“I can guarantee you that every player who wants to join us, the first question is 'Do you play in the Champions League or not?' It is as simple as that. That is the first requirement of the top, top, top level players.

“You would be surprised how early [in the summer] we acted. In our job sometimes you can spend a lot of time and not go on holiday to work on things and it does not come off. That is part of our job.

“It is a question of patience, of continuing to be completely focused on it. Sometimes nothing happens for five or six weeks and then in 24 hours you can do two or three good deals. It is not predictable.”

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