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Monday 21 August 2017

Confident Wenger 'still working' to boost squad

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Picture: REUTERS/Issei Kato
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Picture: REUTERS/Issei Kato

MANAGER Arsene Wenger maintains Arsenal are "still working" to improve the squad – but insists his young Gunners will be stronger next season regardless of whether or not there are any new additions ahead of the transfer deadline.

The Gunners have returned from a successful Asia tour to host this weekend's Emirates Cup, with matches against Rafa Benitez's Napoli and Galatasaray.

However, while chief executive Ivan Gazidis talked up the club's new "financial firepower" at the end of last season, that has yet to be transformed into any concrete deals.

A move for Gonzalo Higuain from Real Madrid never materialised as the striker eventually signed for Napoli, while the Gunners' pursuit of Liverpool's wantaway striker Luis Suarez appears to have hit the buffers.

Despite reports of interest in Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar, Swansea defender Ashley Williams and Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini, not to mention England frontman Wayne Rooney, so far France Under-20 forward Yaya Sanogo is the only confirmed new recruit – and that on a free transfer from Auxerre.

Promise

Wenger, though, stressed everyone remains busy behind the scenes looking to bring in the right type of player to supplement a squad full of promise as Arsenal aim to end the best part of a decade without silverware in 2013/2014.

"We are still working on improving our squad, but we have a base of young players who get a chance here, like (Wojciech) Szczesny, Jenkinson, (Alex Oxlade-) Chamberlain, (Jack) Wilshere, (Aaron) Ramsey, (Theo) Walcott – that is unique, nobody else has done that," the Gunners boss said.

"These players can have a special bond and they are on the way upwards, they are not over the hill.

"They will be better next year and that is why I am confident we will be stronger next season.

"We have had a good pre-season and for the first time in recent seasons we have not lost (sold) any player.

"Our target now is to transfer that confidence into the start of the new season and it is vital for us to have a good start," Wenger concluded.

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