Wenger - Stars not for sale
Arsene Wenger insists that he would not sell any of his midfield talent that starred against Barcelona.
Last Updated: 20/02/11 1:25pm
Arsene Wenger has insisted that he would not sell any of his midfield talent that starred against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League.
After seeing his side defeat what is widely considered to be the best team in the world, it is unsurprising that the Arsenal manager will now be forced to deal with speculation surrounding many of his players.
The 2-1 victory at the Emirates was notable for featuring a number of strong performances from the Arsenal midfield, including long-term Barca target Cesc Fabregas.
The Gunners manager insists that the club will look to keep hold of the Spaniard and will not be forced to sell any player should a big-money bid be launched.
Wenger said: "We need Fabregas. Believe me. He is a special player. He is exceptional and we want to keep them all.
"We go for all the competitions because we have the players to cope. We have the quality and the numbers.
"We are in a position where we can say no for financial reasons. We don't need finances.
"People reproach me, saying 'Why do you not spend stupid money?'. Now they reproach me and say, 'Why do you not sell the player'. That makes me think we have not worked too bad."
Another midfield success story on Wednesday night was Russian international Andrey Arshavin, a player reportedly unsettled in recent months.
The 29-year-old has found form difficult to come by as of late, yet produced a strong performance against the Catalan giants, winning the praise of Wenger.
The manager added: "It has been a difficult period for him because I felt he did not play at his level.
"In the last two weeks he is coming back to a good level but I like Andrey as a man. He doesn't hide his feelings. He is a positive person. He is very self-critical.
"You highlight his attitude but I think he was happy, he scored the goal, went in, he doesn't even think about the rest.
"When you have dinner he is the first one that finishes, the first one in his room as well, even when he is playing."
Perhaps the best performance on the night at the Emirates came from a young British teenager, the highly-rated Jack Wilshere.
The 19-year-old was instrumental in running the midfield in the first leg, a performance that will no doubt draw suitors from across Europe.
"He (Wilshere) can fight and play. It is more than aggression. I would say commitment. Aggression is something negative. He has a committed attitude. He needs to keep that," said Wenger.
"Jack is good in the defensive box and good in the offensive box. We are used to players being only strong on one side more than the other. He can have both.
"You can go into a fight with him. Sometimes it can be too much at the start but I like this side of his character. He is committed, he will fight for the cause and he will not hide."