Wenger: I’ve not had a squad like this in a long time


Arsene Wenger says he’s pleased with the way new boys Lucas Perez and Shkodran Mustafi have settled since signing for Arsenal and believes their age and experience is further proof his squad have the necessary qualities to mount a title challenge.

Both Lucas and Mustafi have spent the last couple of days training with their new teammates and could make their debuts against Southampton tomorrow before the Gunners commence their Champions League campaign away at PSG on Tuesday.

“They have settled very quickly and very well, so the real test is the games,” Wenger told media on Friday.

“We will see and know very soon, but what they do in training is promising. A least they have the quality and focus in training that we expected and on that front I’m very happy.

“We did [the deals] quite early compared to some other clubs because we finished our job on Saturday and the transfer deadline was on Wednesday. It was earlier than expected, because it was a quick turnaround on Saturday morning which we didn’t expect to go so quickly.

“They bring us qualities. Mustafi is a young centre back and already has international experience. Lucas is an interesting striker who is versatile, can play on the flank and especially though the middle. He can score goals and can also provide a good number of assists. With the way I like to play, that’s an interesting quality.”

Wenger’s squads have repeatedly been labelled naïve and lightweight in the 12 years since the Gunners last won the title, accusations that the boss played down at the time. Comparing his current crop with those of yesteryear, the Frenchman played up the fact he can now call on men rather than boys.

“I would say it’s the most mature squad I’ve had for a long time, because they are men,” added Wenger.

“They are not 19 or 20 years old, they are 24, 27, 28 and the whole squad is quite mature.

“It’s the first time for a long time that I’ve had a team of what you can call men ready to compete. After, we have to show that we are good enough to beat everybody else.

“I always believe we have a chance, even when we had young players. Certainly I haven’t had a squad of players [like this] for a long time, who have enough experience to compete.”

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Maybe if you had bought sufficiently in previous seasons we could have had a squad that could compete for a while now

Stewart Robson's therapist

Maybe so, but I’m going with the Edna Mode principle on this.

“I never look back, darling, it distracts from the now.”

Le Jim

‘No capes’ is also a very useful principle of hers, for any potential kit designers out there.

Yorkshire Gunner

2017/18 kit to feature a massive white Cape with arsenal crest on?

Nasri's missing chinbone

Whoever edited the Madonna fall into that “no capes” scene genuinely deserves a round of applause

Chris O.

*Lowers glasses, looks into retinal scanner”



I think what Arsene is implying here is that he hasn’t been able to afford a team like this in a while. He had to do his best with what he had before but would never admit to the media that the squad wasn’t ready or able. He’s obviously happy he’s been able to invest in quality, experience and numbers.

Things are always more complicated than; `Everything is the managers’ fault – manager out! Now we’ll just spend and be great again.’ But I do see how it’s always easier just to blame the manager.

Ex-Priest Tobin

It’s also easy to continually make excuses for him. A lot of fans prefer to do that and bury their heads in the sand. Looking forward to the day he leaves.


‘Blame the Manager’ – really ? Because that’s a two way street. Do we ‘blame’ Wenger for two doubles and an unbeaten League season ? We should. Because he fashioned them. But by the same token if he goes into last season without buying a single outfield player in the summer transfer window, he most certainly gets ‘blamed’. Because it was an inept and stupid decision and the ‘we haven’t got any money’ bleat no longer fits. The problem at Arsenal in recent seasons is less player quality, than team motivation and belief. Both areas are entirely down to the… Read more »


No, we blame the manager for not winning the league in 13 years. We blame him for slipping up in 08,11,14,and 16.


I don’t think it’s worth reading too much into Wenger’s words to the press… The squad with Denilson, Djourou, Bendner, etc. was described by Wenger as the best he’d ever had. Seems a fair point that it’s the most mature for a while, though (and quite reassuring that it is).

Iwobi's sock suspenders

Bore off.
Support the team


Yeah but we couldn’t buy could we. We had to sell. Keep up!


Criticism of Lord Wenger or any of his players will not be tolerated on this site.

Why not

Not true at all. If youve been reading this site for a while you would know otherwise.

Plenty of critisicm of wenger and the players. But also plenty of people that are just plain boring.

Dr Zearse

Plenty of criticism on here, generally if it’s sensible then it’s “tolerated”. If it’s bog standard sensationalist drivel, lacking any real intellectual or footballing judgment, then it tends to get thumbed down. Pretty simple really.


Criticism is fine as long as it’s based on reality.


Not buying an outfield player is

Could go on but it’s boring


Hahaha best comment so far.
Get a sense of humour people!!

Why not

Hmmm judging by your definition of “best” id steer clear of advising people on a sense of humour.

It wasn’t exactly a piece of comic genius now, was it?


I wonder was there a reason for that could it possible be the brand new stadium I get to go to now.


I think it says something about how protective he always has been of our boys, no matter the results and it’s something I admire him greatly for. This time around it feels like he is honest and sort of relieved, and that he knows that for the first time in a long time he now has a squad ready to compete. Still, I cant help but admire how he always stood by his players when they were ‘young and naive’, when financial realities made us lose such great players to horrible clubs and we weren’t getting the results we were… Read more »


I see one tosser disagrees @austriker. I have just one complaint on Wengers reign, and that is, far too many of these tossers, dickheads, wankers, have been allowed to constantly try and get rid of the best manager we have ever had!

Fuzzy Dunlop

Nailed it! He may have faults (we all do) but his positives far outweigh them…imagine having to defend Moronho as your clubs manager!

Bring Back Seaman

Best comment here for a while


^^ gave me the chillst


Agree totally, noting that the results he has got each year are results that most teams eg Liverpool, Sp*rs etc would kill to have had.

Apart from Leicester last season the other teams that have beaten Arsenal (with their younger and naïve teams and disloyal RVPs, Cescs) are those financially ‘doped’.

Thierry Bergkamp

That doesn’t cut it for me. Leicester did it with planning and hard work. Arsenal have blown their chances down the years by not having those same qualities and making the same mistakes time and time again.


Not many teams have managed to do what Leicester did though have they

Andy Mack

They also had a shed load of help from the officials together with the luck of a few players hitting form at exactly the right time. Look at Vardys goal record in the last few years…


Quite true, but I prefer to focus on the fact that Arsenal have come close every other season. . . even with kids captained by Fabregas and with Squillaci & TGSTEL in the squad. Means we need a little more luck, maybe with injuries. When you think of our current Squad, people debate between Giroud and Perez striking forgetting Welbz will be back by December. If we’re lucky as Chelsea (2 seasons back) and Leicester last season with injuries, we could get there this year. Nevermind the Manchester Clubs, we can handle our own business.

It Is What It Is

Stand for something, fall for nothing.

The weak get swayed.


Yeah. It came a little too late though. Should’ve done these signings last year. Maybe we would’ve won the league. We have no chance this year. Especially with a loss already under our belt.


It’s a long season and teams don’t always live up to the hype in the media


Wenger is right, this is the deepest squad he has assembled since the glory days. Ramsey will return soon and will now need to compete for playing time as the midfield is full of talented players who individually offer a host of tactical combinations for the manager. When Gabriel and Per come back, we will have 5 CBs capable of starting and while the former remains somewhat unproven, having him as a third, fourth or fifth option (depending on your opinion) on a title contending team showcases how deep our squad is defensively in the central positions. Welbeck, when healthy,… Read more »

Arsene Used To Know

Welcome to the team of Men.


Proper waffle. He has said this numerous times in the past 10 years. Will be interesting to see what he says when we’re out of the title race by January.

Hope I’m wrong but we’ve not played consistently well in ages.

kaijuka sam

I like how leproffeseur chooses his words, he shows you exactly how hot the manager’s seat can be faced with a number of challenges we the fans do not see. Indeed he has had to contain pressure for this long while using immature and naive boys and yet consistently we have finished in champions league places and sometimes above big spenders. Thumbs up Arsene Wenger you have my trust.


This type of comment about the squad is quite rare from Wenger. He practically says that the former set ups havn’t been good enough to compete. It sets a whole new level of expectation as well. No excuses if we don’t are in the title mix come april/may.

Disillusioned Gooner

If you get the tactics spot on for every game Arsene we can do this! I’m beginning to get excited, COYG!!!

Cliff Bastin

I hope the Manchester derby ends a 1-1 draw with multiple injuries and red cards including Zlatan punching Guardiola and De Bryune poking Mourinho in the eye.

The respective fans may laugh at this. But it’s a nervous laugh. Because as ridiculous as it sounds, deep down they know it’s possible.


Don’t worry about them, they will falter mid way through. Building teams is not like assembling teams.


LOL. that is too much in one game dont u think man.

David C

too much hype for this game. I see it ending 0-0 with Mourinho playing his famous 8-1-1 lineup and Guardiola’s team passing the ball around so much they forget which net to attack.


Exactly my feelings and thoughts!!!


We are looking at arsenal era, the beginning of arsenal total and complete dominance domestically and in Europe.

…possible and probable..


Yeah barca et al are shitting themselves


I just laughed snot.


What are you smoking there?


One step at a time dear…


I believe this squard will make us proud this season.


Is that a cross between chard and squash? Sounds delicious, and I truly hope it does make you proud this season. I know how difficult it is to grow a really good crop of veggies, I’ve tried and failed at it for years.

What do you think of Arsenal’s squad for 2016-17?

Granit Arse

We’ve gone from Boys ll Men ,,


Get your coat

Crash Fistfight

But is Arsene about to reach The End of the Road?


Surely. Let’s hope he will before the water runs dry.

Crash Fistfight

I’m hoping the thumbs down are from people that don’t know anything about B2M rather than people thinking these comments are actually serious.


Boys To Men ?


And so it begins………. The Regeneration.
Did anyone out there really believe that Arsene wouldnt come again?


In terms of ability to be competitive in the transfer market I think Wenger’s achievements can be expressed in numbers and weighting.
Lack of funds weighting = -2
Exuberant funds of competitors weighting = +3
Total disadvantage in weighting = +5
How we bridged that gap and stayed competitive ? Answer = Arsene Wenger

Art Vandelay

Nice one.

Chris O.

Our next step is winning the league. I think this team can, which is the first time in a while I’ve felt like that. No guarantees of course, but I do feel like this group has got the quality and depth to be in the hunt in April and May. I’m excited.


AND nobody important is injured!

Nobody really



Oh no, what did you go and say that for ?!?


Who doesn’t have a very similar backup? Maybe Özil? Giroud? That’s the depth. There are more players than there is room for them. Forwards: Alexis, Perez, HFB, Theo, Welbz (when he’s back) Akp… Wingers: well, every forward bar Giroud + Ox, Gibbs sometimes, Ramsey sometimes, Santi can play there (used to) Middle: Choked up. Xhaka, Coq, El neni, Ramsey, Santi, Özil, Iwobi, Ox can, Defenders: Nacho, Bellerin, Gibbs, Kos, Per, Gabriel, Mustafi, Rob, Jenkins… Some are injured but are back soon. It’s a deep squad of talented players


I don’t know if you all notice in the pics of the training session today, gabriel is back in training and it look like he is 1 month ahead of schedule. And now media also reporting that he is back to training he certainly will be needing 1-2 weeks more of training before he plays again but what a great time ahead for our defense especially now when the games will pile up , we will have Kos-Mustaga-Gabriel-Rob. Brilliant.

I am predicting tomorrow 4-0 win for the gunners, scorers , alexis, giroud walcott and lucas. COYG!

Andy Mack

The ref (madley) could have a big say in the result like he did when he arranged the Swansea win against us last season… Lets hope he has a decent game…


For Madley, a decent game is getting 50% of his decisions right. Smeg me, he’s awful! Almost as bad as Mike “I Love Spurms” Dean.


Completely understand that people are excited about New signings, but let’s not rewrite history and pretend this close season wasn’t horrendously mismanaged by the club.


Hark back to the late 90s and the early 2000s? Be still my heart!


In the last 10-12 years I have had a roller coaster of emotions watching Arsenal like everyone else. And reading some of the comments here I also can understand the feeling of “oh we could have had Xhaka 2-3 years back” when the clamour for a solid defensive midfielder was vociferous and Wenger settled for less. Also, when the obvious was to buy a solid striker to compete with Giroud and he chose to buy a keeper but no outfield player. I get that feeling of “we are 2-3 players short of competing at the highest level” reading all the… Read more »


I can’t wait to celebrate 1st ever champios league trophy


Look its nice to be so positive and sure on the positive side I agree with all that hyp. But all that has been written is conjecture which will either be positive or negative. AND in the main it will be no different than any other season over the last five years. I say five years as that is how long the Boss has been saying that ” if there is a player out there that is better than what we have ” he WILL spend the money to get him. All that said I do appriciate all what he… Read more »

Andy Mack

Nothing wrong with the Suarez offer.
The embarrassing bit is that we have supporters that still don’t understand that.

Michael Okeje

Obviously, Wenger is letting us know what has been happening since. He started out with young players when we moved to The Emirates and as had to struggle. This is not making excuses for him as he has made mistakes just like any other top manager.

Hopefully, we can now smile.



For some reason I read the headline as “WENGER: I’VE NOT HAD A SQUID LIKE THIS IN A LONG TIME”

I thought Lucas’ father might have offered some fancy catering, and it brought back memories of Wenger’s time in Japan.


I’m quite partial to squid mesel.