Champions League - Wenger hits back over transfer criticism

Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal must be allowed to go about their transfer business away from public scrutiny - and defended his record in landing quality players as he prepared the depleted Gunners squad for the crucial Champions League play-off first leg away to Fenerbahce.

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Champions League - Wenger hits back over transfer criticism

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Arsene Wenger (PA Photos)

Wenger has found himself under increasing pressure from both media and fans alike as the north London club have failed to strengthen this summer, despite having money to spend and targeting several high-profile players such as Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez.

Matters came to a head when Arsenal were beaten 3-1 at home by Aston Villa on the opening day of the new campaign, when a knee injury to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ruled the England midfielder out for up to six weeks and the team left the Emirates Stadium pitch to boos, as well as calls for Wenger to quickly spend some of the £70 million transfer war chest.

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew blasted Arsenal for the way they lodged a formal bid for midfielder Yohan Cabaye, believed to be £10million, and claimed it played a major factor in their subsequent 4-0 loss at Manchester City.

However, the French coach, now the longest serving manager in the Premier League, went on the defensive as questions on his transfer policy again dominated the agenda at the pre-match press conference in Istanbul ahead of such a key game.

Wenger said: "I live in a public job where there are opinions of everybody.

"I do with full commitment what I believe is important for the club and the team and prepare for the next game.

"There is nothing to explain (about Cabaye).

"First of all, you don't know what we have done, you don't know if we did bid and you have come to a conclusion without knowing everything that has happened.

"It is quite amazing that all of the people don't know and yet they always have opinions about things they don't know.

"I won't explain to you what happened. It is not down to me to explain to you everything I do. It is impossible.

"If we do a transfer we will announce it. We always inform you. As for the rest, you have to leave us to do our own things."

Wenger added: "We don't want to hurt anybody, not Newcastle, not anybody.

"You can't reproach us on one side for not buying and yet on the other side when we try to buy to reproach us as well. That is a bit contradictory.

"I would just like to reiterate to you that in the last 16 years we have been very successful with transfers - if you look at the players who play tomorrow, they are top quality players, and you should never forget that.

"It is not always to think what is outside is better than what you have.

"What is important as well is to rate what you have and our fans have to understand that as well."

Wenger would rather everyone had to do their business before a ball was kicked.

The Arsenal boss continued: "I repeated many, many times that the transfer window should be over before the season starts because it is destabilising a little bit once the season has started - to be there talking about what is not really important in football."

Taking on Fenerbahce in the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium will certainly prove a test of character, but Wenger is confident it is one which Arsenal can pass.

"Everywhere we go we try to win the game and that is the attitude we have. Again, tomorrow, we will try to play our game as we do everywhere," said Wenger, whose side won 5-2 here on their last visit in the group stages during October 2008.

"We have been everywhere in Europe in all the big stages and seen heated atmospheres, but we always try to play."

Fenerbahce's place in European competition is yet subject to a full hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport after being found guilty of match-fixing by UEFA.

Wenger, though, is not going to let any possible repercussions impact his team's preparations.

"Honestly we don't really know the story so we don't want to speak about that. We want to win on the pitch. That's all we want to focus on," he said.

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