'When players aren't free you can't buy'

Arsene Wenger discussed the transfer window during his pre-match press conference on Friday. Here's a transcript of what he said:

on expecting a signing…I expect like you but at the moment we are not close.

on people saying Arsenal need to sign someone…I listen to everybody but my job is to make decisions, to select and make decisions. Even if I look everywhere and listen to everybody at the end of the day I have to make the decisions. If I just listen to people’s opinion, many players who have signed here starting with Vieira, Anelka and Henry would never have signed here at the end of the day. I have to make the decisions.

on whether the window should still be open…

"Every morning from morning to night, we try to be as good as we can in every single department"

Arsene Wenger

I stand on the fact that when the championship starts the transfer window should be finished. It’s as simple as that because it’s to easy to say, ‘We’ll play three or four games and see what we’ve missed, then after we’ll correct it quickly with a lot of money’. I think it’s too big an advantage for clubs who didn’t work well during the transfer window.

on whether this has been the most difficult transfer window…It is difficult because there’s more money in football, more clubs with big resources, and less players available. The funds are there more than the players who could strengthen the squad. That is a big problem. People know that you have the resources and they want you to buy players from clubs who do not need your resources, and who are not necessarily prepared to sell.

on whether there aren’t enough No 9s available…There’s a shortage in the world. It confirms what I just said, that there’s a difference between financial power nowadays and the availability of top-class players.

on whether fans have to lower their expectations…It is simple. For any deal, when you want to buy something you go to see the owner and if he doesn’t want to sell, he doesn’t want to sell. You cannot buy. In our job it is exactly like that. When the players are not free you cannot buy them because it’s the club who decides, the person who owns the contract who decides. In Europe you have maybe 15 clubs with a huge financial resource.

on whether it’s been frustrating because of that…I’m always more focused on developing the team, the players we have and getting everyone on board that we have at the club. We want to develop players as well rather than over-thinking whether to buy. I’m not against buying when it is a plus for your team. If it’s just to buy a player at the level of the players that you have to make people happy, I’m not ready for that. If it’s somebody who brings something that you don’t already have in the squad, then of course you want to do that.

on whether that proves how hard it is to sign someone…

"I’m not against buying when it is a plus for your team"

Arsene Wenger

It is hard, believe me, to get a deal over the line. It’s difficult as well if you’re not completely inside the deal, to know what happens. Did the player not want to go? Did Manchester United not want to spend more? I don’t know.

on if the players that have joined rivals would not have improved Arsenal…I don’t know that. I cannot [not] deny that. What you want for any player is the need to buy in this position. [You think] 'Is this player making your squad stronger?', and you have to say yes or no. I think we have strong players in every position.

on if other teams strengthening makes Arsenal weaker…I was asked this question two years ago when some clubs bought 10 players [and people said] ‘How do you feel, you have no chance now’. What you want is to focus on your own strengths and make sure that you develop your team. The cohesion, the style of play that everybody knows are important qualities. We live in a society that is hungry for news and news is good, I can understand that. But you have to absolutely be convinced that it strengthens your team.

on if the club is doing all it can to get quality in…Of course. What is our target every day, every morning from morning to night, we try to be as good as we can in every single department of our club.

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