Forcing himself to smile in front of a room packed with cameras, a desperate Arsene Wenger today announced the signing of midfielder Granit Xhaka for the second time in three months.
Fans of Arsenal were delighted when the Swiss midfielder was initially signed from Borussia Mönchengladbach on May 25, with many hoping that the club’s manager would act quickly to secure further reinforcements.
Such reinforcements have yet to materialise, and while months without extra additions have left supporters feeling deflated, this week’s admission by chief executive Ivan Gazidis that the club cannot “outgun” rivals in the transfer market appears to have been the final straw, prompting Wenger to take action.
“People have criticised Arsenal’s transfer policy and our willingness to part with large sums, and we hope the decision to sign a player of Granit’s quality, not once but twice, will end this kind of talk,” said Wenger, adding that he hadn’t ruled out signing other players currently part of his squad.
“Many people like to talk. They say I don’t like to buy players, that I’m stubborn. We are committed to quality players and this signing illustrates that.”
Rejecting claims that the signing was an exercise in futility, the three-time Premier League winner insisted that he had seen enough of Xhaka in training to suggest that he would be worth signing again.
“We knew Granit was good before signed him. But having had the opportunity to watch him train every day, we knew we simply had to secure his services again.”
At press time, a frustrated Wenger responded to supporter anguish over a lack of top-class strikers at the club, reminding them that he had already acquired Thierry Henry, Nicholas Anelka and Robin van Persie in the last two decades.