Wenger plays down Harris claim & jokes about Benzema


Arsene Wenger says Arsenal director, Lord Harris of Peckham, went overboard with his comments about the club’s financial health and stressed it’s not true that the Gunners are sitting on a £200 million stockpile of cash.

In a bizarre interview dripping with braggadocio Harris, who made his millions as the founder of Carpetright, claimed Arsenal could afford to buy pretty much any player in the world.

Given clubs, agents and players look for any leverage they can during the transfer window the comments, which read like they’ve been made by a man who assumed he was speaking off the record, certainly didn’t come across very helpful.

Unsurprisingly, the boss was challenged on Harris’ words in his pre-Emirates Cup press conference. Here’s what he had to say: “Helpful or not, it doesn’t matter. He has gone a bit overboard because that’s not true.

“We are in a situation – I explained many times – where we are working hard if an opportunity comes up to do something, but we are not in the need.

“Last week I had to answer ‘what will you do if all the players are available?’ This week ‘why don’t you buy?’

“Last week (in Singapore) we scored goals and we did not have Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck, who are coming back now. We’re in a position where we have a strong squad, but if an opportunity turns up we’ll still do something.”

One player whose name has been repeatedly linked with Arsenal in the last few weeks is Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema. Yesterday though the France international’s agent declared that his client would not be leaving the Santiago Bernabeu.

“Karim is very happy at Real Madrid and he will be a Real Madrid player by the end of this transfer window, 1,000 per cent,” said agent Karim Djaziri.

Quizzed on Djaziri’s emphatic statement, the boss joked: “One thousand per cent is a lot! That looks quite convincing.

“I do not come out with names anyway. I believe we built something special last season. We want to work on that and not expect too much from outside.”

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