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Arsène Wenger braced for toughest Arsenal season after rivals’ big spending

• Arsenal manager open to further signings but would ship out squad players
• Wenger’s 21st full campaign begins with Leicester test

Arsène Wenger expects this Premier League season to be the hardest he has encountered during his time in charge of Arsenal, saying the “spectacular” spending of rivals such as Manchester City makes the task of winning the title more challenging than ever.

Arsenal begin Wenger’s 21st full campaign in north London with a home match against Leicester City on Friday evening, and a fast start is considered vital after their failure to qualify for the Champions League last term. Manchester City have led the division’s summer spending with a £217m outlay on new signings; Wenger believes as many as seven teams could be involved in the title race but notes that Arsenal’s opponents, particularly Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, are not without problems.

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