x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Leave the players alone: Wenger

The Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger asks the big European clubs to abstain from enticing players from other clubs.

AC Milan's Kaka celebrates another goal.
AC Milan's Kaka celebrates another goal.

LONDON // Arsene Wenger says football will suffer unless big clubs stop acting "irresponsibly" when it comes to transfers. The Arsenal manager has been dismayed by a summer of speculation, and claims and counter-claims involving top stars. Although you cannot stop rumours circulating, the number of illegal approaches and comments about under-contract players, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, has left Wenger worried.

"If you don't show respect to other clubs, football is moving in the wrong way," he said. "You cannot come out like [Ramon] Calderon has done at Real Madrid with Manchester United and tell them you cannot stop a player from leaving. You can destabilise any player in the world - that is irresponsible. These are big clubs that should be setting an example to others." The Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has made a complaint to the Premier League about approaches from Manchester United and Liverpool to Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane, even though Spurs say the strike duo are not for sale.

And Wenger, whose own striker Emmanuel Adebayor has been the subject of prolonged and frenzied interest from AC Milan and Barcelona, told the official Arsenal magazine: "I believe that big clubs should have values and vision and set an example. "If we do not do that in football, then we do not understand the responsibilities that we have." Uefa and the Premier League have a tough task in trying to control the big clubs, especially when transfer interest is often relayed through the media.

Adriano Galliani, the AC Milan vice-president, has blamed untrue reports of a world record offer for Kaka from Chelsea. He did admit there was interest as Roman Abramovich asked about Kaka while Real Madrid are keen again, but said: "The offers are only in the newspapers and they make up stories. "Nothing is true, neither from Chelsea nor from any other club have we received that kind of offer. I can say that Madrid have again asked about Kaka. We will never sell him. Even if we received an offer of 300 million euros."

Chelsea's target is Robinho as Peter Kenyon, the chief executive, sees him as the final piece in the jigsaw for a domestic and European double next season. "We have had several conversations with Madrid and he is a player we think that would add a great deal to Chelsea," he said, also confirming Michael Essien had signed a new contract. @Email:akhan@thenational.ae