We’re not sell­ing Cesc, says Wenger

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

LON­DON: Arsene Wenger in­sists Cesc Fabre­gas is not for sale at any price af­ter Barcelona were once again linked with a bid for the Spain mid­fielder.

Fabre­gas left Barcelona as a teenager to join Arse­nal but he has re­peat­edly been a tar­get for the Cata­lan club over the past three years.

The close-sea­son de­par­tures of Em­manuel Ade­bayor and Kolo Toure to Manch­ester City and Wenger’s strug­gle to find top-class re­place­ments has left many ex­perts pre­dict­ing Fabre­gas will be the next to leave for a more am­bi­tious club.

But Wenger said yes­ter­day: “Do you re­ally think we sell our play­ers one day be­fore the cham­pi­onship starts, play­ers who are ba­sic play­ers of the team? There is no chance.

“You can­not stop peo­ple from hav­ing a lot of creative imagination dur­ing their sleep­less nights, but that does not mean we will do it.”

De­spite Ade­bayor and Toure’s ex­its, Wenger main­tains his squad is stronger than this time last year and can win the League for the first time since 2004. “We are young and have de­vel­oped. Why should we not be bet­ter in Au­gust than we were in March?” he said.

“We lost two great play­ers. How­ever, we have bought (Thomas) Ver­mae­len to re­place Kolo and we have Ed­uardo back, who for me is a great player.

“We have play­ers who de­velop very well and are young, like Car­los Vela, Nick­las Bendt­ner, Theo Wal­cott, who are all strik­ers, so I do not feel we are short in th­ese po­si­tions.

“The am­bi­tion is to fin­ish as high as pos­si­ble. What is as high as pos­si­ble is to fin­ish first, it is as sim­ple as that.

“The com­pe­ti­tion is of a high level and many as­pire to that, so let’s con­tinue to play the game the way we want to play it and I be­lieve we can show that we have made big steps for­ward.”

Wenger re­vealed Arse­nal are no fur­ther for­ward in any po­ten­tial trans­fer deals, which have in­cluded a look at bring­ing Pa­trick Vieira back as well as sign­ing Bor­deaux’s Morocco striker Marouane Chamakh and Ful­ham de­fender Brede Han­ge­land.

“I have all the play­ers in place,” he added. “If we need to add one or two, the trans­fer pe­riod is open un­til Au­gust 31.

“Ideally you want not to move any more, but you al­ways have to ad­just. If there is a need there, we will do it.

“There are still play­ers who want to come to Arse­nal, be­cause they like the way we play and de­velop them. They feel they get ac­cess to top level com­pe­ti­tion, so I do not think we have a fi­nan­cial hand­i­cap.

“The mar­ket now is a world mar­ket, so you can al­ways find good play­ers.” – Sapa-AFP

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