Arsene Wenger is set to take Arsenal’s summer spending close to £100million and he believes every Premier League club remains open for business.
Defender Shkodran Mustafi and forward Lucas Perez arrived in London for medicals on Friday as the Gunners looked to strengthen their squad before the transfer window closes next week.
Wenger has endured a tough summer, with the early signing of midfielder Granit Xhaka from Borussia Monchengladbach only complemented by Rob Holding’s arrival from Bolton.
Arsenal suffered a setback when Jamie Vardy snubbed a move away from Leicester, but it appears Wenger is closing in on a double signing after fans called for more of the club’s cash reserves to be invested in playing staff.
Wenger joked that he is “scared” of the total sum that Arsenal seem certain to spend and predicts the Premier League clubs will easily top £1billion in summer transfer spending.
“I always told you it’s not a question of numbers. It’s ‘Do you have the money to spend it?’,” he said.
“That is the first question. And after, ‘Do you make sure that you spend it well?’.
“And I think when I told you the transfer is linked of course with talent, the expected strength, but as well with resale.
“When you buy a player of 24 you can always get your money back.”
Asked whether he thought spending would go over the £1billion mark, as it nudged the £900million mark with five days to go, Wenger replied by pointing upwards and adding: “I don’t know (by how much) but I’m convinced (it will be more).
“There are many, many clubs in England who have a big amount of money available and haven’t spent yet – you could say all of them.
“Who has finished in the market? Nobody. Everybody is waiting, I think, to get the deals done.
“The clubs who want to sell to English clubs, today they fetch a huge amount of money so it takes a long time to settle and then the clubs resist, resist and maybe in the next three days everybody will find agreements.”
Wenger also brushed off any claims that Lucas, who appeared set for a move to Everton before Arsenal rekindled an interest they seemed to have lost earlier in the month, was in any way a panic buy to appease the fans.
“Look at my face, is it the face of somebody who does a panic buy? No. I try to make the decision,” Wenger said.
“But you will see how many transfers will happen in the next three or four days, it will be amazing, maybe the biggest amount ever.”
Unlike the summer-long pursuit of Mustafi, the interest in Lucas has only just resurfaced. But after scoring 17 goals for Deportivo La Coruna in LaLiga last season, Lucas is being earmarked by Wenger for a role through the middle.
“He is a late developer, he played in a different position,” Wenger said of the 27-year-old.
“He moved centrally in a successful way. I think he has good link-up qualities, good finishing qualities. Let’s see if we can finish the job.”
When comparisons to Vardy were mentioned, Wenger said: “Yes, I like that one.”
The deal for Mustafi has been on the cards for some time but Valencia have played hard-ball, wanting the best possible fee for their captain.
Wenger admits to frustration that the move could not be sealed quicker but, once it is sewn up, he believes the Germany international will complete what Arsenal were looking to achieve in the window.
The Frenchman explained: “This season I thought we had the most easy transfer window ever because we knew what we wanted and who we wanted and it didn’t come off, so you have to restart.
“When you restart, when you handle some leagues they are (on) holiday, there was the European Championships and nothing happened, you couldn’t find anybody.
“He (Mustafi) was their captain. If we get it done, we get what we wanted.”