Arsène Wenger believes that Real Madrid's world record move for Gareth Bale stands to make a mockery of the incoming financial fair play regulations as he pointed out that Arsenal's continuing pursuit of Luis Suárez was driven by self-generated funds.
The Arsenal manager has been alarmed at the manner in which clubs in Europe have lavished huge fees on new signings. Edinson Cavani has been the most expensive deal this summer, with his £57m move from Napoli to Paris Saint-Germain, followed by Falcao (£53m from Atlético Madrid to Monaco) and Neymar (£50m from Santos to Barcelona).
But it is Real's £86m bid for Bale, the Tottenham Hotspur forward, that has left Wenger incredulous. Real have already signed Isco and Asier Illarramendi for £26.5m apiece from Malaga and Real Sociedad respectively.
"It makes a joke of the financial fair play regulations," Wenger said of the offer for Bale. "I find it amazing that in the year the regulations come in, world football has gone completely crazy. You wonder what kind of impact and effect financial fair play has on the football world. It looks like it has made everybody worse than before."
The Tottenham chairman, Daniel Levy, has resisted Real's increasingly aggressive attempts to take Bale. "It's never good to lose a big player, especially a British player," Wenger said. "It's important that the Premier League keeps the best players."
Wenger said Arsenal were "working hard" to prise Suárez from Liverpool and on other possible deals. The club have made two bids for the striker – the second of one pound over £40m – but they have been rejected, with Liverpool adamant that they will not sell nor are they under any obligation to enter into negotiations. Arsenal are prepared to make a renewed offer.
"We are working very hard to strengthen our squad and I don't want to speak about Suárez," Wenger said. "Why? Because that's between Liverpool and Arsenal. We will completely respect what Liverpool wants to do and we want to do that, if it's feasible, in an amicable way. I am a great believer in that you have to keep as much confidentiality as possible, which is quite difficult in the modern world. But we work quite hard, not only on the case you name [Suárez] but on other, different cases.
"You look at many teams around us and nothing has happened. Apart from Manchester City, nobody has done anything. We want to bring in something more. At the moment, that doesn't work as quickly as we would have wished. We have built by hard work, first of all, a team that has quality. The money we now have available is down to the quality of our work down the years."
Wenger was asked about Suárez's chequered disciplinary record and whether he would be comfortable seeing him in an Arsenal shirt. "We have values that we want our players to respect," Wenger said. "The club has built a reputation not only during my period here but over 130 years. The values that are very important for this club have to be respected by every player."
Wenger admitted that he felt under pressure to make a major signing, although he insisted that he would not spend simply for the sake of it. By coincidence, Arsenal face Napoli at the Emirates Cup on Saturday, the club that bought Gonzalo Higuaín for £32m from Real. Arsenal had previously been close to a deal for the Argentina striker. Wenger has signed only the France youth international striker Yaya Sanogo, on a free transfer from Auxerre.
"If you say we are under pressure to spend money, then yes, we are," Wenger said. "But I feel more under pressure to spend the money in the right way."
Wenger said that Sanogo, the talented but injury-prone 20-year-old, would play his first game in Arsenal colours at the Emirates Cup – the club's other tie is against Galatasaray on Sunday – while Santi Cazorla will feature in pre-season for the first time.
Wenger also said that Nacho Monreal would resume training on Monday after suffering from back trouble while Thomas Vermaelen, who has a stress fracture to the back, would be "out for six more weeks". Jack Wilshere was "not completely 100%" but was "completely available".
"Sanogo has not made headlines," Wenger added. "Why? Because he is not £50m-£100m but I am quite confident he will make them soon on the pitch and that, for me, is the most important. The quality of the player is not only linked to the amount of money it costs. Sanogo will surprise you. He is a top-class striker."