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Wenger: Arsenal can still battle for title without competing financially

The Gunners' boss does not believe that being beaten off the pitch by their Premier League rival means that they cannot match them on it and be championship contenders

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes his side can still compete for the Premier League title despite not being able to match the financial exertions of its rivals.

The Gunners are currently experiencing a seven year drought following the 2005 FA Cup final win over Manchester United. The north London club has not experienced league success since 2004, a triumph which signified Wenger's seventh major honour since he joined the club in 1997.

However, since 2004 the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City have benefited from huge foreign investment which has left the Frenchman's side struggling to compete. Nevertheless, the former Monaco coach believes that Arsenal can still battle for the title this season, and believes the club can be proud of the way it is run.

"Firstly, I must say that not being able to match the spending of the richest clubs does not mean that you can't compete with them on the pitch," he told Time Out Hong Kong. "When I first came to England, this question did not exist. Every club was run within its resources. The Chelseas and the Man Citys are new problems. But with this new financial environment, what has not changed at all is our policy that we will be as ambitious as ever and spend the money that we have available, if possible in an intelligent and wise way.

"We have always spent money because we are ambitious for top-class players and if you look at the history of our last 15 years, we have always had top-class players. It does not mean you can't win the title if you can't compete financially. To spend the money on a top player is defendable. But just to spend the money is like you are worried.

"Our fans can be proud of the way we run this club, of the quality of the players we have and of the financial situation that is existing at the club. Rather than convicting this club, they have more reason to be proud of the whole situation here. We have built a team and a stadium in such a short space of time, and have a strong financial situation - and we have always survived at the top level."

The 62-year-old feels the introduction of Financial Fair Play rules may be pivotal in the club's future success, believing that if they are implemented thoroughly they will be well placed to benefit from the regulations.

"We need first to see how effectively Financial Fair Play can be enforced before we can fully understand the impact but I believe it will make for a more exciting Premier League. If the rules are well introduced, it will be a massive advantage to Arsenal Football Club, of course, and we will be well positioned for that."

"I don't want to go into excuses but you want a business to be run properly and I believe that to lose £150 million a year, you don't deserve a lot of credit to win a competition. I think that it is right that you balance your books - to accept the one basic principle for every company - and that's that you can spend the money which you make. That principle just seems to be a common sense and logical one. When you look at the history of England, there are Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa and Derby County who have all won championships. If that is possible again it will be even more interesting."

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