Wenger's Arsenal rebuild begins after Sunderland finale
Arsene Wenger will begin rebuilding for next season immediately after Sunday s final Premier League match at Sunderland, writes Jem Maidment. The Arsenal boss has been left disappointed by Mathieu Flamini s decision to move to AC Milan on a four-year cont
Arsene Wenger will begin rebuilding for next season immediately after Sunday's final Premier League match at Sunderland, writes Jem Maidment.
The Arsenal boss has been left disappointed by Mathieu Flamini's decision to move to AC Milan on a four-year contract on July 1, while the midfield could be further depleted with the potential departures of Alex Hleb and Gilberto Silva. Jens Lehmann will also leave the club next week.
Flamini's loss has left a huge hole to be filled and Wenger's decision to sell Lassana Diarra to Portsmouth in the January transfer window is now being seriously questioned by fans.
Diarra, to add salt into the wounds, is now the subject of intense speculation linking him with a summer move to Spurs. Speculation surrounding Cesc Fabregas will not go away either, despite the Spaniard's continued insistence he is staying put. He has six years remaining on his current contract, but that did not stop Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon being quoted again before last night's El Clasico with Barcelona at Santiago Bernabeu as saying: "Cesc is Spanish, and one of my first objectives is to make Real Madrid more Spanish."
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Fabregas, though, is expected to remain a Gunner.
As usual, Wenger is keeping his cards close to his chest regarding potential transfer targets but he almost certainly will not facilitate a move for former favourite Thierry Henry, despite some very public appreciation of each other earlier this month.
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Henry, the club's all-time leading scorer, has had a poor first season at Barcelona but he told French newspaper Le Parisien this week: "About my future, no, I do not want to leave. I still have three years left on my contract [at Barca] and I will still be here next year."
The Gunners, though, have shown a marked improvement in 12 months, despite Henry's move to Spain. A win on Wearside on Sunday will give Arsenal 15 more points than at the end of last season.