Wenger: Flamini will stay
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Arsene Wenger has insisted that Mathieu Flamini will stay with the North London club.Arsene Wenger has insisted that Arsenal do not have a case to answer regarding Mathieu Flamini's summer move from Marseille.
L'OM were aggrieved after the 20-year-old moved to North London and have asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport to intervene and examine the case, however the Gunners boss is confident that the French youngster will not have to return to his home country.
Marseille believed that they had a verbal agreement with the midfielder, although Arsenal pounced when his contract expired and Fifa ruled the move to be legal in November.
A statement on the Marseille website said that the CAS "recognised Fifa's decision was riddled with mistakes and those who sanctioned the move had no competence to authorise the player's transfer.
"Marseille once again states its determination to use all legal means possible to prove its rights," the statement continued.
However, Wenger is not concerned about the outcome of the case, and is confident that the player, who has made a good impression in the first team recently, will not be asked to leave.
Asked if the transfer could be ruled illegal Wenger replied: "I don't think so as they've already judged on a few other cases like that, but it could improve a bit the compensation that we have to pay.
"It could happen to us that a boy of 20 is out of contract and we can't stop him leaving. The court will never go against the desire of the player.
"This boy was free, we have nothing to hide. The first day I met him was just before the European Championships.
"He told me that his first priority was to stay at Marseille but he couldn't do so. I told him that if he couldn't find an agreement, then he should call me.
"When he called again, it was July 8th and he was in London as he'd broken relations with Marseille.
"He said he wanted to sign for an English club so I said 'come and sign here'."
Both clubs will eagerly await the ruling from the Lausanne-based body, which will determine the future career path of the talented young midfielder.
In other developments Wenger has declared himself to be unhappy with the idea of David Bentley returning from his loan spell at fellow Premiership side Norwich.
Bentley tore a medial knee ligament in the FA Cup defeat against West Ham last weekend and The Canaries were hoping that Arsenal would take the England Under-21 international back, allowing them to bring in a replacement loan player.
It appears that The Gunners will take back Bentley on the condition that the East Anglian club continue to pay his wages in the region of £8,000 per week, and Norwich officials believe the matter to be resolved.
However, Wenger has come out against the deal, stating: "He will certainly come back for treatment but I don't cancel the loan as I feel they have taken the player for one year.
"We can't take back every player if he gets injured. It is impossible for us to do that as we give a player for free on a one-year loan."
Wenger also refused to take back Francis Jeffers early after a bust-up with David Moyes whilst on loan at Everton last season, although Norwich believe that a favourable agreement has been reached this time.
Whilst Arsenal are involved in disputes over the status of two of their young starlets, the immediate future of young stopper Justin Hoyte looks secure.
The England Under-21 international has impressed whilst filling in for Lauren this season and has agreed a new three-and-a-half year deal with the club.