Belfast Telegraph

Wenger 'to keep dealings private'

Manager Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal will not get involved in a public bidding war over Luis Suarez, but is confident his side can still win the Barclays Premier League title without signing the wantaway Liverpool striker.

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers remained steadfast the Uruguay forward is not for sale, but declared the forward would certainly be worth a sum closer to the £100million being touted for Tottenham's Gareth Bale by Real Madrid if he were.

Arsenal's pursuit of Suarez looks to have stalled following a second improved bid of £40m plus £1, which had been intended to trigger a clause that would allow them to discuss terms with the Uruguayan, who is now reported to be considering handing in a transfer request and taking legal action in order to orchestrate a move away from Anfield.

Wenger, though, reiterated after the 2-2 draw with Napoli in the Emirates Cup - he intended to conduct further transfer dealings in private.

"I never said we have made a bid to Liverpool, now I can tell you we have made one, so at least that is some information. All the rest, I would like to keep to us," Wenger said.

"If we progress in that situation, we will inform you. At the moment, that is where we are.

"We will treat every transfer with the rules we have always done until now, that is in a fair and respectful way.

"That is our club, that other clubs do differently is their problem, but we will be completely faithful to the values we think are important here."

When pressed on whether he would be prepared to shell out such a massive fee on one player, Wenger said: "I do not understand this kind of thinking and would not like to talk openly about negotiations because that is not my target in (this) press conference.

"We have one month in front of us and we will work very hard to strengthen our squad, without naming any specific names, because I do not believe that will make negotiations easier.

"After that, you can make all kind of thinking about the price of the players, and you can say as well they are all overboard anyway.

"When you want to buy any player you need the agreement of the club, of the player and you need to agree a price, so you need three agreements.

"It is like you go to your neighbour and say: 'I want to buy your house, so get out tomorrow morning.' He will not be necessarily happy about it.

"What is important is we focus on the players we have, that we are not too much drawn into these stories.

"I can understand they are interesting for people who love football, but it is not the most important (thing) in the game."

Despite only adding France Under-20 forward Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer from Auxerre so far, Wenger remained defiant when asked whether he felt the squad as it was could challenge the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City for the championship.

"Yes, of course. I am confident. Why should I sit here and say to you we can absolutely not win the title with the players we have?" the Arsenal boss said.

Wenger's faith in his current squad looked questionable after some poor first-half defending allowed Lorenzo Insigne and Goran Pandev to put the Italians in command.

However, an acrobatic goal by France striker Olivier Giroud with 18 minutes left sparked a fightback, with Laurent Koscielny heading in a dramatic late equaliser.

"It was a good game overall at a good pace against a good side who finished second in Italy last year," said Wenger.

"I feel overall over 90 minutes we played going forward. It took us time to adjust defensively, and as well it was a good mental test because from 2-0 down to come back for 2-2 is very impressive."

Wenger, whose side will face Galatasaray tomorrow afternoon before a final pre-season friendly against Manchester City in Helsinki next weekend, confirmed Ivory Coast forward Gervinho was set to leave, with his destination expected to be Roma, but that there was no progress on a deal for Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner.

"Gervinho we are close to an agreement with a club where he should go," the Arsenal boss said.

"(Marouane) Chamakh might go somewhere, it will be decided in the next 48 hours.

"(But) Bendtner we are nowhere. He is completely here."


From Belfast Telegraph