Still no Cole show for Gunners
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Ashley Cole will not feature in Arsenal's Champions league qualifier with D.Zagreb.
England defender Ashley Cole will not feature in Arsenal's UEFA Champions league qualifier with Dinamo Zagreb.
The Gunners are taking a 3-0 scoreline into their second leg at The Emirates Stadium on Wednesday, but Cole - who has not played this season, will again be sidelined.
Cole is the subject of a bid from champions Chelsea, whilst top Italian and Spanish clubs are also monitoring his situation and manager Arsene Wenger admits it would not be wise for Arsenal to cup-tie him.
"The transfer possibility is not closed and if he plays he might go to a team who plays in the Champions League and could not play for them any more," said Wenger on Sky Sports News.
"It can happen, but at the moment we are still in no-man's land."
Wenger is growing increasingly agitated by the ongoing Cole saga.
"I am very keen for it all to be resolved because you want your squad to be settled and focused," he said.
"The fact I spend nearly every press conference talking about players who do not play tells you a lot.
"What is important is the players on the pitch, those who play and make the club successful."
Wenger also confirmed that Jens Lehmann, Tomas Rosicky and Jose Antonio Reyes would miss the match against Zagreb because of continuing injury problems, but the Frenchman insists that Arsenal must still be at their best against Zagreb.
"Our approach is just to try and win and complete the job," he said.
"To knock anyone out of the Champions League you need to concentrate for 180 minutes, we did a good job in the first 90 but there is 90 to go.
"If we believe and are naive enough to think the game is over then we will get a big surprise and there is so much at stake for us and for our season and we cannot afford to lose our concentration."
Wenger could choose to field Theo Walcott from the start following the starlet's impressive cameo performance at the weekend, with his manager confident he possess an ideal temperament for European excursions.
"He has shown signs he can do well at that level and at the age of 17 you do not find many players who can do that, he is very confident - he is quiet, level headed, strong and determined.
"We have to speed up his progress as much as we can, but we have to take the right pace.
"If you compare him today with the one that signed he has taken a big step forward, but that is to be expected.
"I think he will get better and he has developed well, if he does not get much better than I am a very bad coach," he quipped.