Wenger rejects Henry's latest snipes at Arsenal's transfer policy
It is fair to suggest that Arsenal legends Arsene Wenger and Thierry Henry have endured a strained relationship in recent months and now the pair are clashing again over the club's transfer window woes.
After Henry left the Arsenal coaching staff on Wenger's orders last summer, the club's all-time record goal scorer has now suggested his former manager is no longer able to attract the game's top stars.
Leicester striker Jamie Vardy turned down a move to Arsenal earlier this summer as he opted to sign a new deal with the Premier League champions, with his Foxes team-mate Riyad Mahrez following suit on Thursday after weeks of speculation linking him with a move to the Gunners.
“Something that drives me crazy is that it looks like players don't want to come to Arsenal,” stated Gunners legend Henry earlier this week. “Vardy rejected Arsenal. It seems like it's difficult to attract players. I don't know why, but it seems like it.”
Yet Wenger was quick to dismiss Henry’s claims, as he argued the Frenchman was misguided to suggest Arsenal are struggling to attract the game’s top talent.
“I don’t feel that no,” he stated when asked about Henry’s comments. “I think there are a lot of players who want to join us. Even the older players who left, 99.5% have asked to come back. He was one of them, so I don’t think it’s a problem now.”
Wenger also opened up for the first time on Vardy’s decision to reject a transfer to Arsenal back in June, with the striker set to line-up against Wenger’s side in Saturday’s intriguing Premier League clash at the King Power Stadium.
“On Vardy, you should ask him that question. I cannot answer for him,” said Wenger.
“In every transfer market you have one or two with decisions to make and you have to respect them.
“Look at the whole market. Very little happens. It’s about the availability of players. Huge amounts can be spent on average players.”
Wenger also spelled out the challenges of working in the current transfer market, as he suggested English clubs are being asked to pay “ten times more” than their European rivals for what he described as “average players”.
“When it’s an English club, the price multiples the transfer by two or three, or maybe by 10,” he added. “If an English club doesn’t come in, he’s worth £5million. An English club comes in, he’s worth £35million.
“Before you pay over the odds you have to be convinced by the player. Can he strengthen your squad? Then you must have the money available to pay, because we already invested at a very high price. And we will do so again.
“We work very hard and I cannot tell you much more. What I fight against is to tell the only way is to buy. It is right when you buy.
“We are not scared to spend the money. It is about the quality. I think this club has been built on that. The main thing on building the club is based on the transfer policy.
“I know everyone questions that because we’ve not done as much as they wish. I’ve done over 400 transfers, and I know how every transfer is written. You are not the only person to decide on transfers.”
Wenger is already under huge pressure just one game into the new season after a 4-3 home defeat against Liverpool last Sunday, with the Arsenal boss insisting he has not been surprised by the tidal wave of negativity that has flowed his way once again from fans and the media in recent days.
A second successive defeat against Leicester on Saturday would add to Wenger’s woes and as a result, he has confirmed that he is considering bringing Laurent Koscielny back into his starting line-up for the trip to Leicester.