Following recent reports linking Jack Wilshere with a move to Manchester City, Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal no longer need to sell their best players.
In what has been a source of huge frustration for Gunners fans over the past few years, a number of their key performers have been offloaded mainly due to contract issues. Robin van Persie, for example, joined Manchester United for £20million as his deal at the Emirates Stadium entered its final 12 months, whilst several players have left for the blue half of the same city.
Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy were also edging towards the expiry dates on their terms when they were lured to the Etihad Stadium club, who had also prises Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure from the capital club. And reports over the past few days claim City are lining up a huge bid for Wilshere, whose place in the Wenger’s side is no longer certain due to increased competition.
The England international has endured another injury-hit campaign, starting just seven times in the Premier League, and as Arsenal launch a late and unlikely bid for the title, they have proved they can cope without him. However, Wenger still considers the midfield player to be a key player, and the French coach insists he no longer has to consider selling his star assets.
“We are not in a position any more where we have to sell our best players,” said Wenger ahead of the trip to Burnley on Saturday afternoon, a match in which a win would see them close the gap on Chelsea to just four points albeit having played twice more than the Blues. “We cannot make a case of any headline in any newspaper in a press conference from things that are not true.”
Arsenal have not won the title since 2004, but they ended their nine-year wait for a trophy last season when they won the FA Cup, a competition they remain in this term with a semi-final against Championship side Reading to look forward to next weekend. If, as expected, they progress against the Royals, then Wenger’s side will take on either Aston Villa or Liverpool in the final.
If everyone is fit and available, then there is evidence that the Gunners are building a squad capable of competing at the very highest level as Wenger will face some tough decisions which could result in a bench consisting of the likes of Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott, Gabriel Paulista and Wilshere amongst others. If they can add a couple more genuine quality players to their options during the summer window, and retain their existing squad, a more realistic bid for the title is certainly possible.