By James Agberebi:
Arsene Wenger has stated that the influx of top managers into the English Premier League will not derail Arsenal's ambition of being crowned champions.
Pep Guardiola joined Manchester City, Jose Mourinho was snapped up by Manchester United while Chelsea signed Antonio Conte.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Friday, Wenger posited that it is what transpires on the pitch that will be the factor, pointing out that Arsenal did well enough to finish second last season.
“It will be interesting [with the new managers] but the quality on the pitch will be the most important thing and let’s not forget we finished second," the Frenchman said.
“We need to skip one more place. The last four years we have been fourth, third and second, and we want to make progress again.”
Commenting on Arsenal's curtain raiser against Liverpool on Sunday, Wenger said he will be banking on his team's good run towards the end of last season against the Reds.
“I believe that it is not necessarily what we or Liverpool wanted because normally you would want three, four or five games before the big games come up.
“We are on a good run in the Premier League, with ten games unbeaten and we want to continue that.
“We are focused, hugely ambitious and humble enough to know it is difficult in every single game to win in the Premier League.”
On the trio of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere, Wenger said it's going to be a define season for them.
“For them it’s a massive season as they belong to the English national team with a new possibility for them because there is a new coach. But what is most important is to do well for their clubs.
“All three have a point to prove for different reasons. Most of the time it is because they are injured but today at the top level you have to be consistently, physically at the top.
“The difference between players and the teams is so small that you have to be at the top physically.”
On the issue of adding to his squad, especially in the attack, Wenger said the only addition he will make is in the defence.
“I don’t count in numbers as squad too big.
“I am looking at no other areas apart from centre back, it’s about quality.”
“Today my focus is not too much on transfers because we have an important game in 48 hours and to win this game, transfers won’t help us because we have a strong squad and have to deal with the game.
“We have lost three centre backs because Laurent Koscielny is also not ready and out of the game but I believe we are equipped to do well.
“Transfer wise, as soon as we do something we will inform you.”
The French tactician confirmed that the duo of Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista will be out for weeks.
He however stated that despite not having Premiership experience, young defender Rob Holding, will feature in the first team.
“Per Mertesacker is out for four months and Gabriel six to eight weeks, which is a bit better than expected because he doesn’t need surgery.
“He ruptured his ankle ligament. At the start we thought it could be four months.”
“He (Holding) has played in the Championship so that is a good experience, to deal with one level higher.”
And on Arsenal competing with the big clubs in the transfer market, Wenger said:“It is not tiring, it is more surprising than tiring. We knew that would happen. Of course it was difficult to imagine five or ten years ago it would go to that level but maybe that is due to the success and popularity of the Premier League.
“We are in a system where you are in a competition where if your opponent wants a player and offers £40m and if you want the player, then you have to pay £45m.
“United are the richest club in the world, with Real Madrid, so not many teams can compete with their financial amounts but that doesn’t make the difference as I feel on the pitch we can compete.
“It is becoming more of a financial competition but that does not reflect in the table of the Premier League and we have to make sure that is the case – as Leicester showed last season.”