Published On: Sat, Aug 20th, 2016

Defensive Wenger dismisses criticism after drab draw

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger addressed the media after Sunday’s 0-0 stalemate at Leicester City, and amid more derision than he’s faced in his 20 years with the club, the Frenchman was pressed to answer for both a tepid display and annual transfer window inactivity.

Frustrated by a lack of summer signings while the rest of the Premier League top four invests hundreds of millions on marquee players, a division of Arsenal supporters have turned on the Strasbourg-born economist.

Related: Stalemate keeps Leicester and Arsenal grounded

Wenger acknowledged these fans’ cries for his dismissal after the East Midlands draw, saying, “It doesn’t cost a lot of money (to do) that.”

With centre-backs Per Mertesacker and Gabriel facing long-term absences, Arsenal is reportedly close to signing Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi. A portion of Gunners supporters have become frustrated with allegedly protracted negotiations for the German international.

Characterised as a penny-pincher in an era of cash-splashing moves, Wenger was defensive in addressing queries about his spending habits.

“We have a whole team working on the strengthening of the team. I’m not the only one.”

“I spend £300 million if I find the right player. I will not forget we have 600 employees and we need a responsible attitude for them, too.”

As head-scratching and tone deaf as those comments are, Wenger does make a valid point about centre-back Rob Holding, 20, who in just his second start since a bargain basement £2-million move from Bolton, displayed a level of composure typically reserved for players five years his senior.

“Nobody speaks about the performance of Rob Holding. He’s English, you should be happy. I am sorry he didn’t cost £55 million.

“We don’t speak about the performances anymore and I think that is not right.

“Why do you say I’m reluctant? If I buy you tomorrow for £45m, I have spent £45m, and I would have done well because I will have listened to you, but spending the money in itself is not a quality.”

With a year left on his deal at the Emirates, Wenger is certain to face a level of gloomy critique unlike any he has experienced in his two-decade tenure, and while adding depth to a side in the window will satiate some supporters, saying the right thing will go along way to stave of the packs of blood-thirsty wolves in scarves.

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