Wenger rues Flamini exit
Arsene Wenger hopes further members of his squad do not follow Mathieu Flamini's decision to leave the club.
By James Dall
Last Updated: 07/05/08 5:04pm
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger hopes further members of his squad do not follow Mathieu Flamini's decision to leave Emirates Stadium.
Flamini completed his protracted move to Milan on Monday, signing for a free transfer as his contract at Arsenal was due to expire in the summer.
Alexander Hleb has also been linked with a switch away from North London, with Internazionale reportedly keen to secure his services.
But Wenger is hopeful that he will not lose any more key players to the lure of lofty wages as he looks to build for next season.
"It is a problem [the salaries on offer] but we did not master this situation [with Flamini] because when a player is out of contract he can sign where he wants," said Wenger, speaking at a forum for Arsenal's shareholders.
"I must say I am disappointed that he did that - but legally he can do it. But I hope that 95 per cent of the team, the core of the team, says 'come on, we have only just lost'.
"If our players are not capable of doing that and just want to walk out for bigger contracts, for me that would be the biggest disappointment.
"And it is just, because we were leading at Manchester United, we were leading at Chelsea and we were leading at Liverpool in the Champions League - and every time we just lost a little bit of focus and lost the game.
"Let's come back and show we are winners. That is the real target of the team."
Wenger also voiced his determination to hold onto Hleb, who, according reports, may invoke the 'Webster Clause' which allows players to leave a club after three years of a longer fixed-term contract, provided they do not move to a club in the same country.
"What people say about the buy-out clause, it is not as simple as it looks," Wenger said on the club's official website. "It is much more difficult and the clubs are reluctant to do that [invoke the 'Webster Clause'].
"We want to keep Hleb, we want him to be part of our team next year. It is as simple as that. We have lost one player [Mathieu Flamini], we do not want to lose more."