Wenger’s Madrid speculation continues

THE frenzied speculation surrounding a shock move for Arsene Wenger from Arsenal to Real Madrid shows no signs of abating in Spain.

All of the country’s major newspapers went into overdrive yesterday on the story, claiming Wenger is seriously considering deserting Arsenal, a club he has transformed into a superpower of the Premier League over the past 12 years.

AS, the Spanish sports daily, says Wenger’s dissatisfaction with his difficult working conditions and the fact that many of the club’s supporters are unaware of the financial restrictions he has to cope with are only adding to his unhappiness with life at the Emirates.

“Wenger knows that the situation would be totally different in the Real Madrid,” AS claim. “Florentino Perez is ready to make a major investment if he wins the elections and becomes the next president of Real Madrid.”

However the paper goes on to say that Wenger remains reluctant to accept the problems and restrictions that would come from working under Perez’s second coming of the Galaticos.

Marca, which is known to have close links with Real Madrid, carries comments from Jorge Valdano, the former Real player, coach and director of football, who has refused to play down the reports saying that he and Florentino Perez, whom he is supporting in the presdential election, would make an announcement in the coming days.

“It will be a few days, but for now I cannot announce anything,” he said when asked if Wenger, Kaka, David Villa and David Silva were among his targets for the new season.

Wenger has yet to clarify the remarks he made to a French television channel at the weekend, when he said that working for Pérez in Spain would be an “interesting project”. He is not expected to address the matter again until his weekly press conference at the club’s training ground on Friday. However, not everyone in Spain agrees that Wenger is the right man for Madrid.

In El Pais, Vicente del Bosque, the former Real manager, says “Wenger no encajaría” (“Wenger does not fit”) and goes on to describe any thoughts of long-term planning at Madrid as an illusion.

Diarios de Futbal carries a poll that asks Real Madrid supporters to “name the new tenant of the Bernabeu bench”. Fans must choose between the two names which echo more strongly than the others, José Mourinho and of course Wenger.

Currently, the Frenchman leads the way with 42% of the vote, Jose Mourinho has 37%, while 21% would rather have someone else.

Chairman Peter Hill-Wood believes the criticism of the manager at a shareholders meeting last week was “out of order”, and believes Wenger will remain in charge at Emirates Stadium.

Hill-Wood insists the flak aimed at Wenger at last week’s heated shareholder meeting was the last thing needed at such a sensitive time.

“Frankly, some of the questions were quite disgraceful,” he blasted. “There you have the most successful manager in our history and two or three of the shareholders made the most negative and somewhat hostile and sarcastic comments, which I think were completely out of order.

“I was very upset by the questions. We, and he, kindly agreed to have this meeting and whether we have another one is a moot point. Arsene was very diplomatic and honest in his answers. But I wouldn’t have been anything like as polite if they had asked me.”

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