Wenger concern over departure talk
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admitted his concern at the prospect of losing big-name players after seeing his side fire blanks at Newcastle.
Neither skipper Cesc Fabregas nor fellow midfielder Samir Nasri were involved in the 0-0 draw at St James' Park during his debutant Gervinho was sent off for slapping Joey Barton as Barcelona and Manchester City continued their respective pursuits. Wenger confirmed that both men remain Gunners players for now, but voiced his frustration at the prospect of losing them.
He said: "Yes, we are concerned by that because when you take players at 16, 17, 18 years old and you play them in the Premier League, you need to be brave. But you do it first of all because you think they deserve it, but secondly as well because you think the club will be rewarded when they are 23, 24 and are in a position to deliver."
He added: "It is a concern, of course - but if the financial fair play comes in, I think we will be in a very strong position. But at the moment, it doesn't exist."
Of more immediate concern for Wenger is his side's failure to make the most of their dominance on Tyneside before late controversy changed the shape of the game.
The main talking point centred around one man who was courted avidly during the summer and another whose continued presence on Tyneside remains in some question.
Former Magpies target Gervinho's evening ended badly when he was sent off 14 minutes from time for aiming a blow at transfer-listed midfielder Barton.
The Newcastle man angrily confronted the Ivory Coast international after he had gone down under Cheick Tiote's challenge inside the box, intimating that he had dived.
In the resulting melee, the £10.5million striker lashed out and was dismissed by referee Peter Walton with Barton, who was also involved in the incident which saw Abou Diaby suffer a similar fate at St James' last season, receiving a yellow card for his role.
Asked for his view of the incident, Wenger said: "I think I saw more than the referee, and that is two yellow or two red, not one red and one yellow. There is a link between the two incidents - he [Barton] gets away with it. That's the link. Last year and this year, he gets a yellow card."