Wenger says Arsenal don't need squad overhaul this summer

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Wenger under pressure from disgruntled Arsenal fans
Wenger under pressure from disgruntled Arsenal fans

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hinted that he does not intend to make major changes to his squad despite their failure to push Leicester in this season's Premier League title race.

Arsenal's title hopes are all but over with six games left to play, sparking huge criticism for Wenger in a season when his chief transfer rivals fluffed their lines collectively.

Yet the veteran Gunners boss is suggesting the squad that have come up short once more this season do not need too many additions take the next step and challenge for top honours.

"We will of course work very hard to do that and we are already working, but we have to find the players. It's not easy," says Wenger.

"You need to keep a core of players and strengthen where we can, but the team is going the right way. It's at the moment difficult for us to accept we're not completely there, but you have to accept that.

"You cannot dismiss the players. We spoke about Alex Iwobi, he's 19 years of age, (Mohamed) Elneny 23, (Francis) Coquelin 24 - they will be stronger.

"I will judge (Elneny) at the end of the season, but for sure he's had a big impact, much bigger than expected because usually a guy comes in, it takes him a few months to adapt, and him and Iwobi had a big impact on the quality of our game.

"We have to strengthen, but it is not obvious, despite the money the English clubs will have, to find the players who will strengthen your squad."

Wenger went on to dismiss suggestions Arsenal have already fallen behind Tottenham in North London's balance of power and believes his young team will improve next season.

They remain six points behind second-placed Spurs and the possibility of their local foes finishing higher than them in the league for the first time since Wenger's appointment in 1996 is distinct.

Given Spurs' youth and the likelihood they will be strengthened further by qualifying for the Champions League, indications are that Wenger's Arsenal may have finally fallen behind their bitter rivals.

Wenger insisted he remains hopeful of catching them during their final six league fixtures of the season, however, and also implied that their respective records during the past 18 years mean one superior league campaign changes little.

"First of all, we are not behind yet," said the 66-year-old, whose team on Sunday host Crystal Palace. "Tottenham has been 18 years behind us, they survived you know, so let's be realistic.

"If (league leaders) Leicester win on Sunday, it doesn't change the fact that we have absolutely to win our game. Let's prepare for that, no matter what the result of Leicester is. Leicester can still drop points on Sunday (at home to West Ham)."

During a disappointing second half of the season Arsenal have been eliminated from the FA Cup and Champions League and fallen 13 points behind Leicester."