Arsene Wenger says the arrival of Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanllehi doesn’t alter the fact that he still has the final say on all Arsenal’s transfer business but he has admitted that change is needed on the recruitment front.
The hiring of the German from Borussia Dortmund as the club’s new head of recruitment and the impending arrival of the Spaniard, who has previously been at Barcelona and will take up a role as head of football operations, appears, on paper at least, to be the first steps taken by Ivan Gazidis in planning for life after Wenger.
Last week, Wenger said he was looking to find ‘a new balance’ within the changing hierarchy at London Colney and while the potential acquisitions of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have Mislintat’s fingerprints on them, he insists he ultimately signs off on all transfer business.
Quizzed on Friday as to whether he still has final say over signings, Wenger said: “Yes.”
While that may not have changed, he went on to make clear that the club have improvements to make in the scouting arena.
“We have to revisit the way we structure our club, and our scouting policy,” said Wenger.
“You look at world-class players now, you look at Ronaldo, Neymar, Sanchez, their level of financial demands and the level of their costs, you have to go younger and certainly these players are not affordable.”
Despite not being able to compete financially with the richest clubs, Wenger still believes that Arsenal’s ability to offer regular game time to new signings – perhaps down to the fact their squad isn’t as competitive and filled with star names – can play in their favour occasionally.
“What is important today is that we are the club that can maybe give them a chance, more than many other clubs,” he said.
“Modern football has created a kind of game where the best players in the game are grouped to a various small number of clubs but that doesn’t mean that you cannot compete on the pitch.”