Having just recorded their highest Premier League finish in over a decade, this summer could very different for Arsenal compare to last year if reports are to be believed.
A 4-0 victory against Aston Villa yesterday – combined with Tottenham’s 5-1 capitulation at the hands of Newcastle – meant that the Gunners leapfrogged their North London rivals to ensure that their record of finishing above them in the Premier League table every year since 1995 remained intact.
The unexpected boost that this has given the club will surely be maintained today, as manager Arsène Wenger has revealed that Arsenal have “as much money as they want” to spend on new players this summer.
In a far cry from last pre-season, when goalkeeper Petr Cech was the only signing of an otherwise quiet summer, the turnover of playing staff promises to be much busier this time.
Wenger outlined plans for the summer to BBC Sport following yesterday’s win – and having finally cracked the top two barrier once again, he wants to go one better again next year:
“Stan Kroenke is completely behind myself and the board investing as much money as we want. It has to be in respect of a balanced budget, we have resources but the problem is finding players. Everybody has money in England and they’re all after good players.
“The good players aren’t legion, you have to be shrewd and be a little bit lucky.”
Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder Granit Xhaka is expected to be the first new arrival through the Emirares door this summer. The 23 year old is is reportedly close to signing in a deal worth over £30m, and has stated that he wants his future sorted before the European Championships begin in less than four weeks time.
With Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini and Tomáš Rosický already having left the club, further reinforcements are required. The need for a striker is also a pressing matter – although Olivier Giroud scored a hattrick yesterday, doubts remain as to whether he can carry the goalscoring burden of the side over the course of a title-challenging season.
Now, of course, there is a difference between having lots of money and spending lots of money. The Arsenal manager is notoriously frugal – and since that has come back to haunt him in the past, it appears as though he may finally be about to relent on that policy.
Wenger is heading into the final year of his current three year contract, and while reports last week suggested that he was to be offered a new deal at the beginning of next season, he has insisted that this is not the case.
That being said, a title challenge brought on by a radically different transfer policy and renewed sense of purpose would almost certainly see the 66 year old extend his stay at the Emirates.