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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul, 18, 2008

Wenger wary of spending and 'killing' youth

Arsene Wenger maintains he has money to spend, but must weigh up the cost of 'killing' the chances of Arsenal's talented youngsters by bringing in a big name transfer.

Long-serving midfielder Gilberto Silva yesterday joined Greek side Panathinaikos to follow both unsettled winger Alexander Hleb and the combative Mathieu Flamini out of Emirates Stadium.

As a result, the Gunners may now up their interest in Aston Villa's England international Gareth Barry, who is rated at £18million and has been a target for Liverpool.

However, Wenger insists it is not just a matter of opening the cheque book and that there were other concerns he had to consider other than simply looking for a quick fix.

Wenger told Arsenal TV OnLine: 'Of course I am in a position where I can spend the money.

'But every time we have done such a great job with the young players that you are concerned 'do we kill a young player or not by bringing another player in?'

'It is a very sensitive subject which is not specially linked with money.'

Arsenal have already moved to bring in promising Wales teenager Aaron Ramsey from Cardiff for £5million and paid £12million for 21-year-old France attacking winger Samir Nasri as Wenger again puts faith in youth.

While some of that outlay has been recouped by the sales of Hleb and Gilberto, the Gunners boss rejected criticism over the club's unwillingness to shatter their wage structure purely in a bid to keep players happy.

Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor is one who has suggested he could get better terms elsewhere, and has been tracked by both AC Milan and Barcelona.

'There is a lot of talk in the press, but we have always managed at this club by balancing the budget,' Wenger said.

'We should not be criticised for that and should be respected for that.'

Arsenal open their pre-season campaign at Barnet tomorrow, where Wenger has named a youthful squad and is expected to give Ramsey his debut.

However, when the action begins for real, the Gunners will again be fighting all out to close the gap on champions Manchester United and runners-up Chelsea.

'We were very close, we were in the race and next year we want to show we can win it,' Wenger said.

'The team is performing well, but the target of a top-level sportsman is to always improve and I believe we can be more clinical, we can score more with the chances we create.'

Wenger - whose last piece of silverware was the FA Cup in 2005 - declared: 'It is important you fight for the championship and to win it. All the other trophies are more of a consolation than anything else.

'I will try to achieve my best to develop the players, to fight in every game. I am more motivated than ever to achieve that.

'For the rest, you have to accept that it will never be be good enough. People always want more - that is normal.'

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