Arsene Wenger has conceded that he has paid the price for his confidence in youth.
Boss to stand by policy; chairman insists money is available
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has conceded that he has paid the price for his confidence in youth, but plans to continue with that ethos.
The Gunners shocked a number of critics with their impressive start to the Premier League campaign as they surged into a five-point lead at the summit.
However, Wenger's men badly lost momentum at a crucial time, and now trail leaders Manchester United by six points with their season set to be defined on Sunday when the two go head-to-head, live on Sky Sports 1
The French tactician has been criticised in some quarters after he failed to strengthen in the previous transfer windows, with United and Chelsea's depth gradually paying dividends in the latter stages of the current campaign.
But Wenger is reluctant to lavishly spend this summer as he is wary of undoing years of nurturing his youngsters' development.
"We have gone for a policy and have to stick with it," he said. "It's very difficult to change the policy when you're in the middle of it and of course you destroy the work you've completed in the previous years.
"We are very close to our rivals and we have to keep this team together. We fight with Chelsea who lose over £100million per year and we make £50million per year.
"We still have to beat them and if we don't beat them then it's viewed as a disaster. I have to take a better perspective on it.
"We play against Manchester United today and how much money have they spent on players? But I still believe we can beat them.
"When you go for a youth policy you know about the price you must pay. Decisive moments in games we have shown a lack of maturity and that's what's gone wrong for us recently. It's only maturity, not quality."
However, Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood has confirmed that funds are at Wenger's disposal, should he wish to strengthen in the summer.
He told the Sunday Mirror
: "We will meet with Arsene in a very casual atmosphere and it will be on the lines of, 'How did you see the season? Do you want another striker or centre-back?'
"The money is there if he wants it. The club never turned down any single request he has made about buying a player."