Arsenal's Arsene Wenger Admits Youth Policy Restraints

The Gunners boss says he has no regrets over not making a big money signing last summer...
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that he is a prisoner of his own policy at the Emirates Stadium, following his numerous decisions to give youth the chance to prove themselves rather than make big money signings.

The Frenchman was heavily linked with moves for Liverpool's Xabi Alonso and England International Gareth Barry last summer, but snubbed both, turning instead to the unproven inexperience of Alex Song and Denilson.

After losing the influential Mathieu Flamini to AC Milan on a free transfer and Alex Hleb to Barcelona, Wenger baffled Gunners fans by not pursuing a replacement for the former, rendering their central midfield looking a little weak.

Injuries to Tomas Rosicky, and later on in the season to Cesc Fabregas, forced Wenger to play Song and Denilson in the centre of midfield, because he simply didn't have any other more experienced players to fill the void.

But Wenger believes that a big-money signing last summer would have gone against his principles.

Speaking to News of the World, Wenger said, "I remained faithful to my policy, when everyone told me I was heading straight for a brick wall. People reproach me for not having bought Gareth Barry or Xabi Alonso.

"And we lost Hleb, Flamini and Rosicky. There was a midfield for me to rebuild. Should I have anticipated Flamini's departure? I couldn't, because I really didn't think he was going to leave.

"I think I have been tough because I have continued to believe in this team when nobody else did," he continued.

"But I am a prisoner of my own policy. Buying Barry or Alonso is killing Alexandre Song, Abou Diaby and Denilson.

"We have been able to integrate them.

"Previously, if I had taken off Fabregas to play Song, people would have said: 'He's mad!' Somewhere along the line, these injuries have been a bad thing for a good thing.

"We believe in our qualities and our strengths. I believe this team has mentally grown this season. We were under a lot of negative pressure but we always came out and just kept going."

The Gunners have finally regained their form, after a poor start to the season, and are now in fourth spot, nine points clear of Aston Villa.

Nick Turner,