Belfast Telegraph

Wenger: Stars must drive us forward

Arsene Wenger has challenged want-away captain Cesc Fabregas and contract rebel Samir Nasri to nail their colours to the Arsenal mast and drive the club on to long-overdue success next season.

Fabregas will play no part in this weekend's Emirates Cup as constant rumours over his future and recovery from a troublesome hamstring have, according to Wenger, left the midfielder "unsettled", with Barcelona looking to bring the World Cup winner back to the Nou Camp. Nasri, meanwhile, has yet to pen a new deal.

"The players have worked very hard, are determined and the competition is a high level," said Wenger.

"We analysed it all again and you look at all the performance indexes from last season you will see we were very close. That is why my desire is so big to keep the whole squad together.

"I talked about Fabregas and Nasri because I feel a good response would be to say 'okay, we missed it last year. Let's show that we can do it together, with maybe one or two more players'.

"That is what we come to expect from champions."

This time last year, goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was third choice.

Now the young pole, whose mix-up with centre-back Laurent Koscielny cost Arsenal the Carling Cup at Wembley, has his eyes on the jersey full-time.

"I enjoyed my spell last season and I want to do my best to convince the boss that I should be number one," Szczesny said.

"We are all friends - all the players at the club are all friends - but at the same time, we want the same spot."


From Belfast Telegraph