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Wenger denies Cesc talks with Barca
Published : 16 Apr 2010 09:59:00
Arsene Wenger insists no talks have taken place with Barcelona over Cesc Fabregas, with the Arsenal boss keen to keep his team together. The Frenchman denies any secret meeting has taken place with Barca and insists the Premier League is getting stronger while the Spanish league is in "complete disarray". The comments come after Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood claimed earlier this week that informal talks between the clubs had taken place. Wenger said: "We have not been in touch with Barcelona over the future (of Fabregas). We have an official dinner before every European Cup game and of course there is a lot of talk but there is no official meeting about Cesc Fabregas. "There is no secret meeting because we do not want to sell our players and anyway I cannot see anybody who has a competitive edge going to Spain. "They have two good teams (Barcelona and Real Madrid), I confess that. The number three (Valencia) is 24 points behind. This weekend the players (planned to) go on strike because they are not paid. "It is a league that is in complete disarray. I don't know why you want absolutely the best players who play in England to go to Spain. If you are really competitive, you stay in England. "That is where the competition is and that is where the best players want to be. I have so many calls from Spanish players who want to join us and want to come here. "We want to keep this team together and improve from season to season. I believe we have made a big step forward considering last season and we want to do that again next season." Fabregas' contract at the Emirates runs until 2014 and Wenger is clearly angered by the constant speculation. He said: "Nobody puts a gun to your head when you sign a contract. We have more players who want to join us than players who want to leave us. "It should be absolutely logical to you that a player who is paid as he is paid respects his contract. I respect my contract because I have loyalty to the players so why should the players not respect theirs? "We have gone for a policy of development of the team over a longer period. We have stood up for these young players so it is down to them to pay us back, stay together and show that we can be successful together." Wenger, who has virtually conceded the title for another season after Wednesday's defeat against Tottenham, also disagreed with England manager Fabio Capello's recent comments that the lack of spending among England's 'Big Four' was the reason for their early demise in the Champions League. Wenger said: "I don't agree with that. The competition in the Premier League has become much harder and the big teams in the Premier League paid for that in the Champions League. "You cannot afford any more, against anybody in England, to rest your players before a Champions League match. The physical demands in the Premier League are just so high that you go into the Champions League in March and April having lost your best players or already having exhausted them. "The Premier League is too demanding. What other leagues can do we cannot afford to do. I do not believe at all that the Premier League has become weaker. "It was an exception from us because we played against a stronger team (Barcelona) and you have to accept that. They were better than us but under normal circumstances Man Utd would have gone through and Chelsea as well." Arsenal go to Wigan on Sunday, where Robin van Persie could start for the first time in five months if he recovers from tight muscles following his return against Tottenham in midweek. Thomas Vermaelen is out for the season with a calf strain and Wenger admits, with William Gallas out of contract in the summer, central defence is a priority. Wenger, who could have £30million to spend in the summer, plans talks with 35-year-old Sol Campbell about his future but insists the Gunners will not break their strict line on wages. He said: "We keep our policy always. We manage within our resources and we will not over-pay the players, we cannot." On the match against Wigan he added: "The morale is down because we lost a game we could not afford to lose. "Our job is to focus on the next game and finish the season with as many points as we can. That is our target. We want to show that we can respond on Sunday."