Friday 23 February 2018

Wenger embroiled in spat with Bolton over 'derisory' Cahill offer

Jeremy Wilson

Arsenal's pursuit of Gary Cahill descended into a public row yesterday after Bolton Wanderers chairman Phil Gartside republished an abusive message about Arsene Wenger on his Twitter account.

Bolton had rejected a bid from Arsenal for Cahill that was described by their manager Owen Coyle as "a million miles off" and then Gartside re-tweeted a message from a fan that claimed the offer was £6m.

"Arsenal are you taking the **** £6m for Garry Cahill **** right off!!! pounds wengerisabell," said the message.

Re-tweeting is generally regarded as an endorsement of a message, although the post was later deleted from Gartside's Twitter account.

Wenger said that Arsenal had offered more than £6m -- it is understood that the bid is potentially worth £10m with add-ons -- and also had a rather more direct message for Gartside.

"If that is his problem, he can endorse what he wants," said Wenger. "I can tell you it (the £6m figure) is not true. You can believe Gartside or you can believe me, but you are free to do what you want. It's not the truth and if Gartside can say that I am lying, I am ready to confront him."

As well as being Bolton chairman, Gartside is on the board of the FA, who must now consider whether any disciplinary action is appropriate.

Although the message about Wenger was not written by Gartside and later removed, the FA has previously charged players for Twitter activity that is deemed to harm the image of football.

There is certainly no doubt that Arsenal and Bolton remain well apart in their respective valuations for Cahill, who has a release clause of £17m but less than a year remaining on his contract.

"It's not just short, it's a million miles off," said Coyle. "They are nowhere near the starting point even. I don't think derisory covers it. Gary is a supremely talented player.

"We know the market place and I can assure anybody Gary will not be leaving this football club for a bargain price. Then again I wouldn't say 'bargain' because it wasn't even that."

Wenger seemed perplexed by Bolton's outrage. "I do not know where the problem is," he said. "If they do not want to sell him, they can keep him. If you ask, 'do I want to buy your house?' and you are not happy with the price you say 'no' and that is it.

"Why should you feel insulted? I don't understand that. Why should you make offers that people are not insulted by?"


As well as his desire to strengthen in central defence, Wenger also wants both a midfielder and a new striker before the transfer window closes on Wednesday. He is looking to the French league to enhance his midfield, with strong interest in Yann D'Vila, Marvin Martin, Lucho Gonzalez and Eden Hazard. The situation regarding the strikers is more complicated but Wenger is mindful that Robin van Persie will need support, particularly as Marouane Chamakh is due to play in the African Cup of Nations in January and Nicklas Bendtner is still pushing to leave.

Wenger has been interested in France international Karim Benzema, while there is also understood to have been tentative enquiries about loan deals for either Carlos Tevez at Manchester City and Real Madrid's Kaka. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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