L'OM reveal Wenger talks
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Marseille have confirmed that Arsene Wenger has spoken with them about Franck Ribery.
Marseille have confirmed that Arsenal chief Arsene Wenger has spoken with them about Franck Ribery, but denied an agreement with the English giants was already in place.
French sources have long claimed Arsenal were leading the chase for the French international, despite strong interest Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Manchester United.
Again it was suggested only last week that Arsenal had managed to broker a deal for next summer which would have seen Ribery move to North London at the season's end.
However, L'OM sporting director Jose Anigo has denied Arsenal have already clinched a deal for one of the most in-demand players in world football.
"It is very clear that there is no agreement with Arsenal or with any other European club," Anigo said.
"Indeed Arsenal did come to discuss with Pape [Diouf, Marseille president] and Arsene Wenger spoke to him about it, but there were also discussions with other large European clubs.
"I could list them all but I would not have enough fingers on two hands to count them."
Anigo also seemed to dismiss any suggestions that Ribery could move in January.
"Franck is much coveted for sure and he has a certain price today. But our objective is to reach a place in the Champions League and for that it is necessary to keep out best players," he told Marseille's official website.
"So I do not see why we would discuss the departure of Franck, as we have high hopes and we want to keep our best elements to go in the right direction.
"If we do not manage to qualify for the Champions League, inevitably it will be necessary to raise the question [of his departure].
"But I repeat there is no agreement with Arsenal or another club, whether through me or Pape Diouf."
Meanwhile, Anigo reaffirmed Marseille's dream to see Didier Drogba back in the white of Marseille.
The Ivorian hit-man left for Chelsea in 2004 - but he is still a firm fans' favourite at The Stade Velodrome and the player himself admits he would love to return to the South Coast of France.
"At the moment we need to speak of Djibril Cisse, he is today the one we miss," he said.
"But to see Didier Drogba alongside Franck Ribery, it would be the dream of any trainer or sporting director," he said.
"But an absolute ideal would be to have Cisse, Drogba and Ribery. That would be extraordinary, why not? No door is closed in any direction here.
"But we cannot get carried away, we have managed to have Djibril Cisse and Franck Ribery and if we qualify for the Champions League we will certainly have the facility to keep these players."