Under pressure Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that his squad came dangerously close to splitting up over the summer.
Wenger, who saw star trio Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy all leave the club over the summer, conceads that he was lucky that more players didn’t leave the London club.
“It was a very difficult summer because half the dressing room wanted to leave,” Wenger told RTL.
You’re preparing for a season where you don’t know who’s going to come in, the players who are staying are asking themselves what’s going on at the club, you’ve got a pre-season tour of Asia. It was extraordinarily difficult. What saved us is that we’re a club that are extremely solid and united. Other clubs would surely have gone to pieces in those circumstances.
“What people forget is that we lost three key players because we’ve also lost Wilshere. Three who were important in our midfield. Nasri, Fabregas and Wilshere have all been lost and they were the basis of our midfield last season.
“We’ve had to reconstruct our midfield entirely because Wilshere won’t be back until January. Still, we’ve disappointed this season so far, given what’s expected of us, but I think we’re on the up again. The problem is you can only climb the table slowly. We’re not too far away in terms of points from fourth place. We’re too far away [12 and 10 points] from the top two.”
The Frenchman also admits that it is becoming increasingly difficult to compete with the financial power of Manchester City. “They are a force clearly, because they have exceptional financial clout, so it’s not surprising what they’ve done. Look at Paris Saint-Germain. They have more money than anyone else in France and they’re top of the league.
“Frankly, if you compare what Manchester City have won in the past and what Arsenal have won, then you don’t go to Manchester City to win trophies’