Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has admitted that his club are still financially weaker than Manchester City, but are now better positioned to compete with their rivals in the transfer market.
Arsenal lost a number of players to the Citizens over a five-year spell, including the likes of Bacary Sagna, Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri and Emmanuel Adebayor.
Arsenal were unable to match City in terms of wages and transfer fees in the years between 2009 and 2014, but Wenger is adamant that the exodus of star players at their peak is now at an end, amid suggestions that both Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez could be on their way next summer.
“City were good clients!” he told reporters ahead of this weekend’s meeting between the two teams. “We are [in a stronger position now] because today I feel we can give financial satisfaction and support ambitions and values that can make the players happy at this club.
“Before, perhaps the financial gap was too big a difference to keep our players. We could not compete, we had to sell players. It has reduced but it is still there.”
Arsenal travel to City on Sunday afternoon as both sides attempt to claw back the gap that sets Chelsea apart at the top of the Premier League.
BIG-NAME MOVES: ARSENAL To MANCHESTER CITY
Bacary Sagna (June 2014, free)
Samir Nasri (August 2011, £25million)
Gael Clichy (July 2011, £7million)
Emmanuel Adebayor (July 2009, £25million)
Kolo Toure (July 2009, £15million)
Arsenal are six points behind the leaders after a 2-1 defeat by Everton on Tuesday night, when opposing manager Ronald Koeman accused Wenger of always making defeats about the officials.
‘In my job, people who don’t like losing – believe me – they don’t last a long time. And concerning the referee: yes, I don’t agree with the performance of the referee against us on Tuesday night but I didn’t say a word about it.
‘Of course [the result disappointed me]. We looked in control and I believe we were in control even though we lost the game.
‘In the second half we were completely in control of the game and we lost it on bad luck I believe because it was not a corner and some decisions when you watch the game again were questionable. The response to say, could we have won theme despite that and I have to say yes.
‘That is where we have to be objective and analyse it. we can only master what we an influence ourselves. that is where maybe we have to analyse that well and not look for excuses, but really see where we failed to win the game.’