Backpage roundup: Drogba not Arsenal bound, Barca target three more Gunners, Sagna going nowhere, Wenger in no rush to sign new deal, Santos’ driving charges and more

Wenger Downplays ‘Drogba to Arsenal’ Rumour

Arsene Wenger has downplayed media reports linking Arsenal with a shock move for former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba.

The Ivory Coast international, who now plays for Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua, is purportedly looking to come back to European football, having grown tired of his current club’s internal problems.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Wenger, who passed on the opportunity to sign Drogba as a teenager, would like to sign him this time, in order to solve his side’s goal scoring problems. But the player’s UK management company has denied that their client is looking to leave the Far East just a few months after signing for Shenhua, and now Wenger has also downplayed the rumour.

When asked if the Gunners are in contact with the Champions League winner, the Arsenal boss said: “At the moment no. In my opinion he is not free. He has just left England. I don’t know about the situation because he came out with a completely different statement. You hear he might go to Real Madrid – but then he says ‘I am staying in China’. Is it just because he wants to be paid off? I don’t know.”

 

Santos Charged With Driving Offences

Arsenal left-back Andre Santos will have to appear at Hendon Magistrates’ Court on September 27 as the police have charged him with dangerous driving and driving without due care and attention offences.

The charges are in relation to an incident that took place last month when Santos was asked to pull over by a police vehicle for erratic driving but he refused to oblige straight away and gave up only after being chased down.

 

Sagna Loves Arsenal and Will Stay Put – Wenger

Arsene Wenger has assured Arsenal fans that Bacary Sagna’s long-term future lies at Emirates Stadium and the defender will not be sold in the near future.

Sagna, who was considered one of the best right backs in the Premier League before being dogged by injury problems, recently voiced his displeasure at Arsenal’s offloading of Robin van Persie and Alex Song. He also talked enviously about his former teammates Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri’s league triumph with Manchester City, and it was taken as a hint of a possible move away from Arsenal by the British press.

However, Wenger believes that the France international is happy at Arsenal and he blamed the press for distorting the player’s original words.

He said: “I had a chat with Sagna about it. I think he loves the club and will stay here. I believe any player or any employee always had to defend the company he works for – and if he is not completely happy with it then he has to go somewhere else. That is basically what I think, and that is what I say to everybody.

“It [Sagna’s contractual situation] will be discussed, yes. I expect him to stay and I want him to stay. The interview does not really reflect at all what he thinks about the club, and the love he has for this club because he has always shown total commitment on the football pitch – for the team and the club. That is much more important than a little bit twisted article in the newspaper.”

Wenger in No Hurry to Sign New Contract

Amidst reports that he is close to being offered a new contract, coach Arsene Wenger has said that he is in no hurry to sort out his long-term club future and will take his time before arriving at a decision.

The veteran Frenchman, whose current Arsenal deal will expire in June 2014, is reportedly set to be offered a new contract by club CEO Ivan Gazidis. But Wenger, who will turn 63 next month, says that he still has a lot of time left on his current contract and so there is no need to rush.

He said: “I have been at the club long enough to have confidence in the people I work with, but I will assess my own performances and then make a decision, at the moment we are not there. Two years is a long time in my job. I just want to do well for the club as long as I can and accept all the rest.

“I have to consider that at my age, you always have to assess if you have the fitness, the desire, the commitment that this job demands. Then of course you have to make your decisions. I hope I will be lucid enough and intelligent enough to assess my performance well. I am an Arsenal man. I think I have always shown that. I have to consider if I do well or not. If I don’t do well, I have to consider my future.”

 

Barcelona Target Three More Arsenal Players

The latest media reports emerging from Spain have claimed that Barcelona aren’t content with raiding Arsenal for two of their finest midfield players (Cesc Fabregas and Alexandre Song), and they have now set their eyes on some more premier Gunners.

The players in question are Jack Wilshere, Thomas Vermaelen and Abou Diaby, who according to Mundo Deportivo, are on Barcelona’s wish list.

The Spanish giants are impressed with the footballing education being given at Arsenal by coach Arsene Wenger and they believe that the aforementioned trio would fit in perfectly at Barca.

While selling all three to Barca seems like a far-fetched idea, it should be noted that Mundo Deportivo are considered one of the most reliable news sources in the Spanish press  and they had broken the news of the Blaugrana’s interest in Song before everyone else.

 

Wenger Happy With Barca’s Constant Interest in Arsenal Players

Arsene Wenger has said that Spanish giants Barcelona’s constant interest in Arsenal players is a proof that the Gunners are well-educated in a footballing sense and he takes it as a compliment.

Speaking in an interview with Bein Sport, the Arsenal manager said: “That Barcelona come look and buy our players can be seen as a compliment for us. Because it proves that our players are well-educated and also that our players are those that are most relevant to their style of game.”

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