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Aug 18, 2012

Wenger looks to Wilshere to lead

Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal are ready to move on from Robin van Persie's exit and says young English players such as Jack Wilshere will lead the club into the future.

• RvP: Utd a 'perfect match'
• United complete Van Persie deal
• Wenger: Van Persie sale hurts
• Mancini: United now favourites
• Ferguson hails new strikeforce

Van Persie departed the Emirates for Manchester United this week, leaving Wenger to rely on new signings Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla to spearhead the Gunners' attack ahead of their season opener against Sunderland on Saturday.

However, the Arsenal boss believes that as the season progresses, it will be the likes of Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who will lead the way.

"We lose great players but I want to show that we have great players at the club," said Wenger. "Young players, English players. Chamberlain and Wilshere, we have fantastic potential here and when everyone is fit we will see that.

"I feel Jack will be one of the leaders of this club and by giving him the number 10 [shirt], I want to show I am confident he will be the one who will lead the team one day.

"I believe that he is at the stage where he needs something. At his age, one year out, that's not easy to take and every day he comes in at 8 o'clock in the morning and works out but didn't get anywhere. I want to show him that I believe in him and that he will come back quickly."

Wilshere is currently recovering from foot and knee injuries after enduring a horror 12 months on the sidelines. It is expected the midfielder will return before the end of the year.

Another youngster Wenger will be relying upon will be Theo Walcott. Wenger confirmed Arsenal "are trying to extend his deal" as the club looks to keep the 23-year-old on board in the long-term.

Reports in the English press claim Walcott has been offered a deal worth in excess of £70,000 per week, but Wenger maintains the Gunners will not spend beyond their means in order to avoid another key player departing. Indeed, the Frenchman claims the days of clubs such as Barcelona and Manchester City poaching the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri is coming to an end.

"It is a short-term problem, that the world cannot go on like that," said Wenger. "You cannot imagine that the world will go on just splashing money out without any return, people will get tired of that because you will have just a few teams competing with each other.

"When you have lost the standard of living in life for normal people, the football world always gets higher and higher - that cannot last because people will not accept it. Financial Fair Play will make a big difference, how quickly I cannot answer because I am not responsible for putting it in place."

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