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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 28, 2007

Wenger: I turned down Adriano offer

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger today revealed he rejected an offer to take Brazil superstar Adriano on loan because he is convinced his existing strikers are ready to flourish. Adriano has slipped down the pecking order at the San Siro and Inter Milan hope a spell at another club - Manchester United and City have been touted as possible destinations - will revive his career. The 25-year-old, who has scored 25 goals in 37 appearances for Brazil, has suffered a loss of form amid a succession of injuries and complaints over his commitment. Part of Wenger's refusal to do business with Inter was because the Italian giants demanded an unnamed Arsenal player on loan in return and the Frenchman was not interested in an exchange deal. But Wenger said also said the strength of his current strike force persuaded him he did not need another forward. 'I was offered Adriano on loan and I said no,' he said. 'We do not need him and it was an easy decision to make because we're not out there to sign another striker. 'The agreement was for a loan. Adriano has qualities we don't need. They wanted to give us a player but wanted one back in return. 'I won't say who it was. I didn't want to lose the player they requested. I didn't necessarily think Adriano would upset the balance of the squad. 'I have bought Eduardo Da Silva. I already had Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie and I brought Nicklas Bendtner back. 'I still have Theo Walcott and Abou Diaby can play through the middle. Why should I bring more forwards in? 'I have big faith in my squad and they've proved me right so far this season.' Wenger's faith may not extend to his goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, however, as speculation the erratic German could be on his way out of the Emirates Stadium intensifies. Lehman was omitted from the squad for Saturday's 1-0 victory over Manchester City with Wenger claiming he had aggravated an Achilles injury. But the move is thought to have been punishment for his blunders and he is reported to have stormed out of the training ground yesterday following talks with Wenger. Arsenal claim the 37-year-old is undergoing a scan today with Manuel Almunia once again set to deputise in tomorrow's Champions League qualifier against Sparta Prague. And Wenger has told Almunia that if he impresses, he will be given the nod ahead of Lehmann even if the veteran keeper is fit. 'Jens has a scan today I. He is never happy when he is injured and he is never happy when he is not playing,' he said. 'Whether he is still number one or not goes from game to game. I have the highest respect for Jens. 'I brought him here four years ago and made him our number one. Since then he has always been number one. 'But saying Jens will be first choice when he gets back from injury is asking me to say that no matter how well Almunia plays, he will always be dropped for Jens. 'You can never say that to a player because it means his performance is not important. 'Of course at the start of the season we lost number one but now the number two has come in we have to give him a chance. 'But you make choices like this when everyone is fit. Almunia is good enough to give me a selection problem.' Arsenal take a 2-0 lead into tomorrow's second leg against Sparta with all eyes on Cesc Fabregas and Tomas Repka. Sparta captain Repka declared before the first leg he would 'sort out' Arsenal but ended up hobbling off with a knee injury after a crunching tackle from Fabregas. 'I'm sorry if Fabregas did that but Repka in the press conference was not very subtle and that's why it happened,' said Wenger. 'We have to show that people can't say anything about us lacking aggression but we want to play good football and not get involved in any controversy. 'We have no suspicions about tomorrow's game. Repka was a very committed player but it's difficult to accept what he said on television.'