Sat, 12 Mar 2005

From: AFP

Wenger says Vieira, Henry staying put

Agence France-Presse, London

Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry are totally committed to Arsenal, manager Arsene Wenger said, as he shrugged off reports that both French stars would leave unless the squad is strengthened.

Arsenal were beaten by Bayern Munich in midweek in the Champions League and the Premiership title is further slipping away from them, so the FA Cup is their only realistic chance of winning a title.

Wenger, though, does have funds available during the summer as he looks to bolster his numbers and mount another serious assault on domestic and European honors again in the next campaign.

And the Arsenal manager rejected reports originating in France that key men Henry and Vieira would consider leaving the club.

Wenger said in the London Evening Standard: "I don't accept that and I am not worried."

Arsenal is set to move to its new Emirates Stadium in August 2006, and Wenger added: "We have the financial potential to do what we want to do. You don't jump out of the boat if it is not going as well as you want it to go. I am confident they will stay."

Wenger will be without several first-team regulars at the Rebook stadium on Saturday, including Henry, who faces around three weeks out with a calf strain.

The Arsenal boss reflected: "I can understand their frustrations, but who can plan at the beginning of the season that we would be going into the FA Cup game at Bolton tomorrow without Edu, without Gilberto Silva, without Thierry and without Sol Campbell? It is difficult to plan for that."

Meanwhile, Manchester United will be fighting to keep its season alive in the FA Cup quarterfinals its own painful Champions League exit.

Holders United, who lost to AC Milan on Tuesday, travel to face struggling Premier League rivals Southampton on Saturday.