Wenger plays down Harris claim & jokes about Benzema

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Arsene Wenger says Arsenal director, Lord Harris of Peckham, went overboard with his comments about the club’s financial health and stressed it’s not true that the Gunners are sitting on a £200 million stockpile of cash.

In a bizarre interview dripping with braggadocio Harris, who made his millions as the founder of Carpetright, claimed Arsenal could afford to buy pretty much any player in the world.

Given clubs, agents and players look for any leverage they can during the transfer window the comments, which read like they’ve been made by a man who assumed he was speaking off the record, certainly didn’t come across very helpful.

Unsurprisingly, the boss was challenged on Harris’ words in his pre-Emirates Cup press conference. Here’s what he had to say: “Helpful or not, it doesn’t matter. He has gone a bit overboard because that’s not true.

“We are in a situation – I explained many times – where we are working hard if an opportunity comes up to do something, but we are not in the need.

“Last week I had to answer ‘what will you do if all the players are available?’ This week ‘why don’t you buy?’

“Last week (in Singapore) we scored goals and we did not have Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck, who are coming back now. We’re in a position where we have a strong squad, but if an opportunity turns up we’ll still do something.”

One player whose name has been repeatedly linked with Arsenal in the last few weeks is Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema. Yesterday though the France international’s agent declared that his client would not be leaving the Santiago Bernabeu.

“Karim is very happy at Real Madrid and he will be a Real Madrid player by the end of this transfer window, 1,000 per cent,” said agent Karim Djaziri.

Quizzed on Djaziri’s emphatic statement, the boss joked: “One thousand per cent is a lot! That looks quite convincing.

“I do not come out with names anyway. I believe we built something special last season. We want to work on that and not expect too much from outside.”

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70 Comments on "Wenger plays down Harris claim & jokes about Benzema"

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Arsenalboy

Oh, you Harris…

WengersNoseHair

Bless his cotton socks.

And Persian rugs.

SuperNova

Wenger “Nice goal, Harris”

CB

Such a waste of time and energy. Can we rewind a day and not have to bother with rubbish like this?

Or should we just look at the headlines once a week?

Me So Hornsey

Lord Harris needs to stick to regenerating inner London comprehensive schools and imprinting his name on them in a oh no not very egotistical way at all.

To be fair, all his schools have actually risen up the schools league table since he’s taken over so maybe, just maybe….

GeneWildersCrazyDNA

Operation: Wackyleaks
Phase 1 & 2 complete…

Rohith J

Benzema to Arsenal, it is then.

Richie Growling

He probably thought they asked him if Arsenal were planning to buy new carpet. OOOh yes (Churchill nod)

Lettra

I don’t know .. I’m with Arsene here .. 1000 percent is pretty darn much and no I don’t have a fancy PHD in percentages but I do know my way around a calculator.

Imua Gunners

I’d suggest Karim Benzema start looking for a new agent if his current “Mr. 150%” is having this much difficulty with percentages.

YQFGooner

“One thousand per cent is a lot! That looks quite convincing…”

Banter!

Draze

Welcome Benzema!

Hope you get to break the curse of the No 9

Mpls

I cringe when I see No 9, curse, and break in the same sentence.
I still miss Eduardo.

chippy's chip

He was just bigging us up with a pissed up posh manure fan…

Arun

Dampens the hysteria surrounding the club, so typical of Wenger.

We don’t necessarily need an upgrade on Giroud, but an alternative would be nice or we should pray that Theo comes good and signs the extension.

Allowing him to have a blinder and then allowing him to leave would be sad, but that’s probably what United plan to do with De Gea, so no complaints however it turns out as long as Arsenal have a genuine crack at the title.

Beat Mourinho’s Chelsea, have a strong CL run and have a crack at the title, and no one is going to complain about the striker upgrade.
Simple expectations ain’t it?

Anonymous Physicist

We don’t necessarily need improvement anywhere, which is the great thing about this year’s transfer window. We also have the money to buy an improvement anywhere if the right player becomes available, which is the great thing about the club’s current financial position. All in all, it’s a pretty good time to be an Arsenal fan.

It Is What It Is

Always is.

Trez

We need a better than striker than giroud to win the league. City has Aguero, Chelsea has Costa.

fabulous

Costa is no better than Giroud, you just ride along on the media frenzy playing Giroud down. Get a grip FFS.

Xxxrob

Giroud is a great player for us
I think in our heart of hearts we can rationally say aguero is better than he and even Costa
Giroud and Costa are similar physical strikers but I’d tend to think Costa is a more ruthless finisher than giroud
thats not a slight on giroud it’s just the truth.
Costa usually scores his clear cut chances but giroud sometimes fluffs his chances

Trez

Thank you…someone who gets it. Saying the truth is “bashing Giroud” or “trying to put him down” according to some on here.

Trez

Keep deceiving yourself. Numbers do not lie. Costa has scored more than giroud in the last 2 seasons.
However you look at it, Giroud is not world class, just decent. He’s shown that in the last 3 seasons.
The sooner you realise that, the better. I’m only being honest.

Paul

Great touches though, and a World Class Barnet!

Harsh

Alexis is a striker. i think he will play a lot more centrally, if we can just stop injuries to players like Walcott, Ox, wilshere, etc.

Vat

Anybody else share the feeling that the british media just don’t want wenger to succeed? Alexis for 32mn was absolutely killer; two fa cups nothing to be sneezed at; leave alone the brilliant 98-2004 run. But at that time – it was about how wenger bought foreign players only – then wenger didn’t win trophies – then wenger didn’t spend money. Everyone now buys foreign players; the only team to win a trophy each of the last two years is arsenal, and arsenal have the most English core now. Strange how nobody speaks about English core anymore.

indiangooner

Wenger is such a buzzkill..Just sign him already.

gooner

“If we find one or two, we will do it ”

he forgot to add.

goonermonkey

Welbeck is coming back from an injury. (LANS)

WengersNoseHair

Ah the return of the LANS, it’s like a new slogan, you know?

Trez

Welbeck does not guarantee goals. if he scores 10 in the league, we should thank God.

Third Plebeian

Also, “only if they are top-top-class.”

mhmzz

Källström class?

Jimbo 1

Hope Harris is right, even if he was out of line talking to the press. Arsenal do need a world class striker as an alternative/upgrade to Giroud, Welbeck and Walcott. They simply aren’t going to score enough goals against the best opponents.

Savage

He was happy with his “world class’ keepers, but he bought another one. Don’t rule anything out.

But I do agree with Wenger that we have a strong basis. Personally I’d like to see more of Theo through the middle, at least until we’re convinced it won’t work.

Andy Mack

It certainly will work……. sometimes.

Lupoli's Laces

Why do we not, as Alex Oxlade Chamberlain suggested, re-sign Nick Bendtner? Afterall, he is TGSTEL.

Wangge

No.

Ronaldo's Paunch

Do you want to break the BPL? Ffs think before you say these things. We’d win everything if we signed him again, no one would want to watch football anymore.

Samrat

Wow…….what a day…….So unexpected followed by so obvious
Oh well…. COYG

winterburn 87

Surprise strikers names: Balloteli n Adebayor

CB

I know you are aiming for humour here, just difficult for anyone to thumb you up especially with a mention of the second one.

Me So Hornsey

Or the 1st one.

Trez

Adebayor did score 30 for us…but he still has a shitty attitude.

goonermonkey

Or how about we resign TGSTEL? Supah Niklas Bendtner!

igor stepanovs

Really don’t understand some of the comments on here expressing disappointment that Wenger hasn’t backed up what the old buffoon said. Clearly it wouldn’t be in our interests to announce we’ve got a Scrooge McDuck-esque bathtub full of cash even (especially) if we were lining someone up. Fans disappointed in Wenger’s measured response should ask themselves if they would prefer a manager like Van Gaal who merrily announces “mystery” prize signings, as if fulfilling a secret, long-harbored fantasy to host cheap daytime game shows.

Martin

Come to think if it, Wenger operates like Obama

Nzini

please explain briefly

Chuffy

As much as most of us would want Wenger to spend 40 million plus on a striker, I just don’t see it. It’s an area we are probably overstocked in anyway. I readily agree there are better strikers externally, but Wenger has shown in the past a stubborn loyalty to his players. Unless we sell Walcott, due to his contract stand off I’m almost certain we won’t sign a striker.

Personally I think we have a great team at the moment and for the first time in a long time I don’t want to disrupt the harmony that we currently already have. Signing somebody for silly money is what we would all want to do if we’re playing Football Manager when we can simply turn the game off or reload if something goes wrong. Let’s see how things pan out in August and the start of the season before we go mental at not spending a fortune.

Trez

You’re “overstocked” in an area where we don’t have ONE player that has/can score 20 goals in the league??
More like quantity over quality.

Harsh

i think i agree. We have Walcott, Welbeck, Alexis and Giroud. Walcott and Alexis are goalscorers and i think, between the two of them they would guarantee 30-40 goals easily if fit. I wouldn’t let Giroud go(probably because i am a fan 😀 ). i think, regardless of of what formation you play, a team usually plays two strikers. and we have four. so i guess, if one more comes, welbeck will probably have to go on loan, probably not. 5 strikers might be more than required, but it is probably not tooooo much. If walcott goes, no doubt we need one.

Trez

Whats the point of having 4 strikers if POTENTIALLY only 2 can guarantee you 20 goals or more?
Fact is none of our strikers has ever scored 20 goals or more in the league.
We get a clinical striker and our chances of winning the league increases alot more.

Martin Finley

An average of 13.5 goals a season striker is mid table quality in my opinion. Benteke even contributed more in his last 3 seasons for villa. Also consider Benteke was 21 yrs old 3 years ago while Giroud was 26 and in his prime these seasons for Arsenal. Giroud also played for a top 4 club, Benteke a lower mid table club.

Giroud 97 games 41 goals, Benteke 89 games 42 goals.

However considering his prize of only 12 million he has delivered probably more than expected and has shown to be a good investment based on bang for our buck. But I still think we could do alot better in his position, But he would be quality depth and a possibly game changing impact sub.

But If we dont sign anyone I hope to see Giroud contribute to somewhere around 30 goals through both goals and assists meaning something like 20 goals and 10 assists.

Considering Van Persie Contributed to 40 goals in the league in his final season with us through 30 goals and 10 assists, then I think it is fair to expect a Arsenal Striker in the new and improved title challenging team to be able to contribute to atleast somewhere around 30 goals in my opinion.

Scott P

The thing people keep forgetting is how much Giroud has improved over the years he’s been at Arsenal. He wasn’t even on the radar in France until his mid-20s, so he’s a late bloomer. I think he has room to improve even more, definitely. Imagine his goal tally if he kept his goals/games ratio this year and didn’t get injured.

Andy Mack

Add ‘Assists’ and Girouds numbers are much better than Benteke.
This is a team game.

Trez

With our midfield, he should be scoring much more. It’s not like we have ronaldo in our team or anything.

Andy Mack

Yes he should but also our midfield should be scoring more from his ‘set-ups’.
He’s better than he’s given credit for in the press but there’s no doubt we can improve on him. However very few think Benteke is an improvement from a team perspective. I’m not sure if there’s anyone actually available that is that real step-up for the team.

fabulous

Count in assists and you take away Benteke’s penalties, just shoots down your argument on Benteke being better than Giroud. Fuck’s sake why does it seem our own fanbase can’t give credit where its due, ESPECIALLY when it comes to our own. Sure another body would greatly help, more so if that striker is more clinical and has great movement around the box, but that doesn’t take anything away from Giroud. Having said so how many top strikers fit that bill? Suarez, Lacazette, Muller, and maybe Benzema, Lewandowski, Cavani, and of that list only a few looks willing to move away from their current clubs.

Trez

Give credit when its due?? Giroud is a DECENT striker; nothing more, nothing less.
In 3 seasons with us, he hasn’t scored 20 goals in the league once.
Now i’m not sure if benteke is better than he is, but the fact is they almost have similar numbers and giroud plays with a much better midfield.
We need better to get to the next level.

Trez

Perfect description of Giroud…but people don’t want to hear/believe that.
Even with an inferior midfield, Rvp scored and assisted more than giroud in his last 2 seasons.
We can do Much better than giroud.

stpl

I love Wenger: He very politely puts a smackdown on Harris, and his comment on Benzema’s agent is hilarious. For the record, I would love to see Benzema in the squad, and I am inclined to agree with Mr. Finley above but consider:

If Giroud stays healthy, he is good for about 20 goals (and 10 assists).
I think if Theo stays healthy and plays the way he has recently he is also good for 20 goals.
Alexis is going to be the one to score 30 goals: remember he did not have a lot of help early last year and Ozil was out for a long time.
If Jack plays the way he has been recently and stays healthy, at least 10 goals.
Ozil should score at least 10 this year, as well.

I think these are somewhat optimistic (re: lack of injuries) but not entirely unrealistic projections. If they more or less play out, that is a lot of goals, and there will be many more from players I haven’t mentioned. Even if we don’t get the striker that many fans want, I think we are set for a great season.

Andy Mack

If he has the usual second season improvement then Alexis is certain to get more than 20, although 30 may be a stretch (but not impossible, injuries allowing).

bazza-wicks

Most clubs would be keeping the manager in check and here we have AW keeping the board in check gotta laugha at spend the money croons probably secret AW out brigade, didnt chelski with its high flying multi zillion quad lose to the yanks, shitty got a football lesson from real madrid with half their squad out shitty full squad playing and not forgetting the Shitte heart gang spending (wasting)150 mill trying to out do us ? yer dream on hey big spenders.

Trez

We all hate the chavs and shitty, but lets not make up lies…city played with a second team and madrid played with a full team bar james rodriguez. The chavs also got beaten 3-0 last preseason before they went on and dominated the league.

Heroldgoon

Wenger does have a way with words.

Tito

Arsene has always come up with good strikers. I think his job will be a lot easier with a better striker than Giroud. If he says Giroud is what he needs for now then I will give them my 1000% support.

Rich

This is so typical of Arsene, it’s gone from 1 or 2 players to maybe one player, but we’re not in need.

We’ll play some great stuff at times this season, but ultimately we’ll come up short again, unless we add some more bite in the middle of the park, and some more firepower up top we’ll continue in this Groundhog Day of third and fourth place finishes!

Arshavin's fake moustache
Arshavin's fake moustache

I’m pretty sure Wenger has something up his sleeve. Surprise swoop for Arshavin?

Ronaldo's Paunch

I don’t think people understand how businesses work… if you want to buy something, the other party has to be willing to sell. Yes, everyone wants Wenger to sign a “top stricker” or a “DM” but jesus if the other team doesn’t want to sell what can you do? Get a grip people, real life isn’t like Football Manager on your computer unless you’re Real Madrid or PSG and you have all that money to throw around. I mean think about it, would you be happy if Wenger decided, “ok, i can’t get Benzema, maybe i should settle” and went out to spend the best part of 30 million on Ben-bloody-teke?

TeeCee

1000% eh? That’s a whole 10 Benzemas.
As 10 Benzemas and a ‘keeper doesn’t sound like a winning formula, they can probably spare one for us….

Wale

Giroud has fine very well for the price and gives of his best anytime he’s on the field but we still need another more skilful and inbox lethal finisher. If Walcot can be injury-free and we do not get such a striker, between him,Alexis,Ox, Rambo and Jack, we can compensate for the absence of the needed striker.