In a fascinating wide-ranging interview given to a number of media outlets, Arsène Wenger this week spoke on a number of topics, including retirement, the ability of the club to challenge for the Premier League title and the club's philosophy. As with any Wenger interview, there was a mix between the fascinating and the very quotable, such as his comment on how Alex Ferguson has been able to deal with retirement: "But he has horses. I have no horses."
Arsenal have notably spent more money since the summer of 2013, spending nearly £80m on Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez, and close to £70m on Petr Cech, David Ospina, Mathieu Debuchy, Calum Chambers, Gabriel and Danny Welbeck. That, however, does not mean the club is developing a spend-first policy:
We want to continue to combine stronger financial resources with faith in our philosophy and policy. That means giving chances to young players and building from inside our club with our culture. After, if we can buy the exceptional players, we can compete today. But that will not be the basis of our policy.
Wenger noted how the most successful period of Manchester United and Barcelona's dominance was built upon a strong youth system--the Fergie Fledglings of the early 90s and the La Masia generation of the late 90s and early 00s--and that Arsenal hold the same values. Manchester United, of course, have moved away from that, spending an enormous amount of money on talent since Louis Van Gaal became manager, which Wenger attributed to a lack of patience.
Wenger also emphasised the stability of the side, as he did last week in Asia, when he talked of cohesion. It is clear that he believes this stability, which he said Chelsea had defensively at the beginning of last season, enabling them to build an 11 point advantage over Arsenal early in the season, will be key to a Gunners' challenge in the forthcoming campaign.