Asked by When asked by TF1 on Wednesday night whether he will sign another player to replace Van Persie, Wenger replied:
“We already recruited to replace him.”
Wenger added that the club had “no choice” but to cash in or run the risk of losing the striker for nothing next summer.
“It’s sad to lose a player of his quality. He had a year left on his contract so we didn’t have the choice.”
So if I read Wenger’s quotes correctly, he knew that van Persie would be sold this summer, and that is why he bought Podolski and Giroud. The combined transfer fees of them was £20.5m, which just about equaled the van Persie transfer fee.
The disturbing aspect of that, is that once again Arsenal have had effectively a zero transfer budget: £20m in and £20m out. The Santi Cazorla deal I believe was unplanned for, but I would venture a guess that if you add up the transfer fees that Arsenal will receive for Arshavin, Bendter and Vela, I would expect then to total close to £18m, the price paid for Cazorla.
It is getting harder to explain away some of the highest ticket prices in Europe, with a transfer budget that has been effectively flat for the last decade. There is no financial reason why Spurs can have a net transfer spend that is £190m more than Arsenal over the last decade. There is no reason why heading into this year, Arsenal’s net spent was negative in four of the last six seasons.