Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has brushed aside suggestions from Chelsea counterpart Jose Mourinho that he has bought his way to being a Premier League title contender.
Wenger and Mourinho have had a frosty relationship in the past, with the latter accusing the Frenchman of being a “specialist in failure” last season.
Mourinho risked stoking the fires of their simmering feud again when he said of Arsenal: “If you add up the amounts clubs have spent in the last three or four years I think maybe you will find a surprise. If you put [Mesut] Ozil plus Alexis Sanchez, plus [Calum] Chambers, plus [Mathieu] Debuchy, you will find a surprise.
“It’s a fantastic squad with good players, fantastic goalkeeper, they are more than ready to be a title contenders. Get a calculator. That is the easiest thing, it leaves no space for speculation.”
However, Wenger – speaking at a news conference ahead of Sunday’s Community Shield clash between the two sides – refused to be drawn into a war of words.
“We spent what we think we have to spend and don’t listen too much to what people have to say,” he said. “We try to make the right decisions, we don’t spend the money we haven’t got.
“I believe that one day if you make real statistics of players we have developed and compare them to other clubs you will be surprised.
“I get different reproaches – that I don’t spend enough then I spend too much. I let other people talk.
“What you want is to not listen too much to what people say. I believe if you want to create success you have to focus on the inside and do as well as we can. Focus on the football we want to play and let other people talk.”
Wenger, who confirmed that Danny Welbeck (knee) will not be fit for the showdown at Wembley, also refuted suggestions that Southampton had enquired about taking defender Chambers back on loan following his switch to the Emirates Stadium last July.
“They didn’t try to get him back on loan and I would not consider it, not at the moment,” he added.
“I want to develop him as a centre-back. He can develop here. He will get games at Arsenal.”
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