Wenger hopes stars don't leave for ' more bucks'
Arsene Wenger is in no doubt his current Arsenal squad can achieve great things - and hopes the likes of out-of-contract midfielder Mathieu Flamini show the 'strength' not to walk out on the club just for the sake of a 'few bucks'.
The Gunners head to relegated Derby on Monday night left to reflect on what might have been after a campaign which promised so much will end without silverware for a third year in a row.
Wenger, though, maintains his men will return wiser and more determined from their experiences of a rollercoaster campaign which saw them storm to the top of the Barclays Premier League only to see dreams of the title and also European glory evaporate over the last nine weeks.
The Arsenal manager, however, knows it is essential to retain the services of key men like Cesc Fabregas, Alexander Hleb and Flamini if they are to move forwards as a unit.
Earlier this week Kolo Toure - the Ivory Coast defender and one of the last members of the Invincibles squad of 2003-04 - declared he would like to see out his entire career with the Gunners.
Flamini, though, has yet to accept terms of a new deal which is on offer, with Juventus said to be waiting in the wings.
Wenger wants the 24-year-old in his midfield next season, but has set a deadline of the end of the month for an answer one way or another.
'There is something in this team which is stronger than a few bucks here and there,' said the Arsenal manager.
'What is really important is that this team says 'lets go to the end of our potential together and not walk out for any simpler reason' - and that is where I expect them to show strength, and care what they can achieve together.'
Wenger noted: 'We are not any more in a period where you get £100 more at another club and it decides your life.
'Flamini can earn more somewhere else that is for sure because it would be a free transfer - but how much is he ready to sacrifice to stay here?'
The Arsenal manager has been left bitterly disappointed by another barren campaign.
However, Wenger maintains the hunger for a return to the glory days continues to burn as fierce as ever.
He said: 'Of course I looked at myself, it is the first thing I do.
'I worked harder than ever this year.
'Do I have the fire and desire is not what I question. What is so difficult to swallow is that you work as hard as I did and finish empty handed.
'I am not pretentious enough to say I didn't make mistakes - but we only lost three games and we are not competing for the championship.'
With Flamini currently sidelined by injury and suspended winger Alexander Hleb one of several first-teamers unavailable, the Arsenal manager is likely to hand some fringe players a chance to impress against the relegated Rams.
Young Polish goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski could make his Premier League debut, with Wenger in no doubt he has recovered from shipping in five goals during the Carling Cup semi-final second leg defeat at Tottenham in January.
'It had a big effect on him,' Wenger revealed.
'He is an intelligent and sensitive boy. With these two qualities sometimes it goes against you.
'However, he has got over it. It is a learning process of every top level player. A career is how long he deals with lows.'
Wenger firmly believes his youthful Arsenal side will have learned a lot from what has been a rollercoaster campaign.
One player expected to press for regular inclusion next season is Theo Walcott, the 19-year-old forward now back in the England fold.
'I feel the young players produced,' said Wenger.
'I considered Theo not to be a regular at the start of this season, next year I think he will fight for his position, the same with [Nicklas] Bendtner.
'It wasn't that I didn't think Walcott would be ready, but how quickly.
'Sometimes before he started games and you did not see a lot of him. Now that is different.'