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Welbeck injury highlights striker crisis

Arsenal
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Wenger fears Arsenal are feeder club

Arsene Wenger has expressed his fear that Arsenal are becoming a club that nurtures top class talent for their rivals to cherry-pick when the Gunners' star players reach their prime.

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Wenger has carved out a reputation for spotting teenage footballing talent, moulding them into some of the best players in Europe.

The Arsenal boss did it with the likes of Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry, and now more recently with Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri. Wenger has always previously spoken of how he is building for Arsenal's future, promising during times of frustration that the club would reap the rewards when his batch of youngsters finally reach their peak.

However, both Fabregas and Nasri are now at stages in their career when they would be considered to be entering their footballing primes, yet it appears Arsenal will not be the ones to benefit. Barcelona expect to sign Fabregas imminently, while Nasri has had his head turned by the interest of Manchester City.

Asked if he was scared that Arsenal were becoming a breeding ground for players that move on to the Gunners' rivals for trophies, Wenger responded: "Yes we are concerned by that.

"When you take players who are 16 or 17 years old and play them in the Premier League, you need to be brave. But you do it because they deserve it and secondly because you hope the club will be rewarded when these players are 23 or 24, and are in a position to deliver. "So it is a concern."

The Arsenal manager, who has not delivered a trophy since 2005, did promise the club's fans that he is not scared to spend big money, but he reiterated his belief that there is little value for money out there.

"We have a big squad, a very big squad, and if players leave we try to bring players in," Wenger said. "But we request top quality. We are not scared to spend big money, don't worry. But we want to know what we get for it."

Asked for an update on the status of both Fabregas and Nasri, Wenger replied: "We are on both fronts in no-man's land. Things can change quickly, but right now they are players of Arsenal Football Club."

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