Tuesday 10 December 2019

Fabregas and Nasri will be Gunners next season, vows Wenger

Jeremy Wilson

Arsene Wenger has today expressed his confidence that Arsenal will keep both Cesc Fabregas or Samir Nasri this summer.

Speaking in Kuala Lumpur this morning on the first leg of Arsenal’s pre-season tour of Asia, Wenger described Nasri as "very happy" and said that he fully expects Fabregas, who is wanted by Barcelona, to begin the season with him.

Asked if he was convinced that Fabregas would stay, he said: "Yes. As simple as that. I never speak about what's happening behind closed doors. I think Cesc loves the club and hopefully we'll manage.

"We know that this story for Barcelona goes on for years now and we have to close that and for ourselves to focus on the season hopefully with Cesc Fabregas. It's given too many headlines to newspapers for too much time, I think it's enough."

On Nasri, who is being targeted by Manchester United and Manchester City, he added: "There is always speculation when a player has only one contract year to go and has not signed a new contract that he might leave the club. But Samir Nasri is very happy at the club and is committed to staying at the club."

Nasri’s contract expires next season and he is yet to agree a new deal, but Wenger is still standing firm.

"Will he be at the club this season? I say yes. Will he sign a new contract? I hope yes but I'm not the only one to decide that."

Wenger also confirmed that both Nicklas Bendtner and Manuel Almunia are in talks to leave and said that Gervinho, his new £10.6 million signing from Lille, would train at the club’s London Colney base today.

"Gervinho has come back from holiday and signed," he said. "He had a medical on Thursday: we sent him back home to sort things out for two days. He has a family with children. He came back yesterday and starts his fitness programme in London today. He is officially an Arsenal player now. I decided not to take him because he had had no training sessions."

Arsenal have sold Gael Clichy to Man City, but Wenger now wants Kieran Gibbs to step forward as the club’s regular left-back.

"We have Kieran Gibbs, Armand Traore and Thomas Vermaelen who can play at left back so we have what we need," he said.

Wenger also reiterated his faith in his Arsenal philosophy. "My plan is to continue to develop Arsenal and make Arsenal one of the main forces in the world," he said.

"I think we are slowly getting into position to doing it because the club has developed very well in the past 10 years with its structures and the quality of the team. Last year we were very close but the season didn't finish in a good way for us.

"That should strengthen the resolve of the players and the staff. We will be faithful to the way we manage the club. This team is getting mature, strong and we do not need to change our philosophy.

"We have to be better in what we want to do. We are an offensive football team and we want to be better in our offensive team than we have been."

Arsenal will play Malaysia on Wednesday before travelling to China where they will play another match on Saturday. The aim of the tour is to develop Arsenal’s commercial power in Asia and increase their global fanbase.

"We know we have a big fanbase in Asia," Wenger said. "It's a new experience for the team and we are very happy. We know how important it is to develop our name in Asia.

"I think we've found a good balance between not disturbing the preparation physically and coming here to Asia because we have a short trip. In the second week of pre-season we can afford to do that."

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