Wenger did consider Dacourt
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Arsene Wenger admits he did weigh up the merits of bringing Olivier Dacourt to Arsenal.Arsene Wenger admits he did consider the merits of bringing Olivier Dacourt to Arsenal but has opted to put his faith in Mathieu Flamini.
The sale of captain Patrick Vieira to Juventus has left Arsenal with a gaping hole in midfield and Wenger has been contemplating how best to replace the Frenchman.
Wenger was linked with a move for Roma ace Dacourt, who has experience of playing in The Premiership with Everton and Leeds United.
Gunners boss Wenger previously denied holding an interest in Dacourt but now concedes he did weigh up the possibility of taking him to Highbury.
However, Wenger feels his plans are better served by asking Flamini to rise to the challenge of replacing Vieira, rather than looking to Dacourt to fill the void.
"Mathieu is a fast learner," Wenger told the News of the World. "He will play a bigger role for us this season and I have no concerns with that.
"When you lose a player like Patrick, it leaves a gap. My players have lost not only a team-mate and their captain but also a friend.
"They'll miss him as a man as well and, of course, he needs replacing. But the youngsters I have are up to that.
"It is true that we thought about Dacourt but then I said to myself: 'Even though he is a very good player, what sign would that send out to the young guys in my squad if I replaced Patrick with a player who is nearly 31?'
"I decided that's not the way we do things and now people like Mathieu have a huge chance."
Meanwhile, Middlesbrough have been linked with a move for Arsenal midfielder David Bentley, who has asked to leave Highbury.