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May 23, 2009

Wenger tells board to "shut up" about funds

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has moved to quash talk that his is reluctant to spend in the transfer-window and has told the club's board to "shut up" about the club's summer spending plans.

"When I am manager of a club, I do with what I have available and you have never heard me complain," he said. "But as well, I do not accept people to think that I'm stupid enough that I have £100m at my disposal and I put it in the bank because I am scared to spend it."

Major shareholder Alisher Usmanov has indicated that he would be willing to pay some of Arsenal's long-term debt payments to help free up more cash for team building and it is understood Wenger is likely to have around £25million at his disposal.

But the Gunners boss is eager to keep his budget secret. "If I tell you I have £250m, every player I call will cost three times more," he said.

Wenger added: "Considering transfers and the money available, the less you talk the better it is. Let other people talk and you do what you want. I believe the more everybody shuts up inside the club and does not talk about anything and works hard is the best."

The future of Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor, who will miss on Sunday's final game of the season against Stoke because of a groin problem, has also been at the centre of much speculation - with both Chelsea and AC Milan said to be considering a £20m bid.

While Wenger accepts things have not exactly gone to plan for the 6ft 3ins forward, who smashed 30 goals last season before agreeing a lucrative new deal in the summer, the Arsenal manager maintained: "My gut feeling is he will be here. At the moment his future is at the club.

"He has a long contract and we want to keep him at the club. I am hopeful I will be able to keep him."

Wenger, meanwhile, is not concerned by the "endless" speculation linking him with a move away from Arsenal.

"I have faced that for a long time. When you are in a job for a long time, as soon as you have a blip, people are not happy," he said.

"Through my whole stay here I have had contacts with other clubs, but nothing ever comes out from my side.

"I cannot master what people say or what is written in the newspapers.

"I believe nobody can question my commitment and I have always shown my commitment to this club."

The Gunners are safe in fourth spot - which will mean they will face a qualifier in August for the group stages of the Champions League - following an unbeaten league run of 21 matches which ended when they were hammered 4-1 at home by Chelsea two weeks ago.

Although the deficit on champions Manchester United, who knocked Arsenal out of Europe, stands at some 18 points, Wenger insists his squad continue to make relative progress.

"We have not stood still in the last four years like many people have suggested," Wenger said.

"The level of competition is very high in England, but I believe we will have a word to say next season."

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