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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Wenger: Arsenal can afford Rooney

Bandini and Mariner discuss the potential transfer of Wayne Rooney to Chelsea.

Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal can afford Wayne Rooney’s wages, but concedes Cesc Fabregas will not be leaving Barcelona in the near future.

Wenger, speaking after Arsenal’s 7-1 win over Vietnam XI in Hanoi, indicated that the Gunners remain in contention to sign Rooney, despite the England forward being heavily linked with Chelsea.

Pointing to United’s purchase of former Arsenal captain Robin van Persie last year, Wenger says he would not be surprised to see Rooney move on this summer.

“It happened to us last year and it can happen to them,” he is quoted as saying in the English press.

“Rooney is under contract and has two years to go so it’s United who make the decision. But we would not have a problem with the wages of Rooney.”

Wenger also revealed defender Thomas Vermaelen will be out for "two months at least" with a stress fracture to the back.

Meanwhile, both United and Arsenal have been linked with Fabregas in recent days. The midfielder, though, will not be leaving the Camp Nou in the next 12 months, Wenger says.

"Fabregas has decided to stay one more year at Barcelona," Wenger explained. "Unless he has changed his mind, I don't know... but that's what I've been told.

“We have the [first-option] clause in the contract so we would be on alert but at the moment that's not something we're after."

But United legend Bryan Robson is confident Fabregas could be bound for Manchester in the coming weeks.

When asked about the links with Fabregas and reports that executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward left United's Australian tour to secure a deal with the Barcelona midfielder, Robson said: "I think Fabregas is a fantastic player and hopefully he's playing for Manchester United. So I hope Ed is very successful if that's what he's gone back to England to do."

Also speaking at the official Manchester United lunch in Sydney, former United striker Dwight Yorke shared Robson's optimism.

"Well if we can get him it would be a magnificent scoop, he’s a fantastic player, we know that. The great thing about him is that he has had so [much] experience in the Premier League.

"Him and Van Persie had a great understanding so we know he’s a top player and we would be delighted if we can get him because he’s been an outstanding player for the last five years or so."

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