Wenger praises Francis Coquelin but refuses to be drawn on summer transfer targets
Arsenal go into tonight’s Premier League match with Sunderland requiring a point to secure third place and direct entry into the group stage of the Champions League.
The Black Cats have their own agenda tonight as they require a point from their remaining two matches to avoid relegation.
Arsene Wenger spent most of his time at his press conference yesterday fending off questions about summer transfer targets.
The media in the last few days has linked Petr Cech, James Milner and Raheem Sterling with summer moves to Arsenal.
Wenger played a straighter bat in dealing with the questions than most England batsmen will when facing the Aussies later in the summer.
Reports emerged last night that Arsenal have opened talks with Chelsea over Cech.
True or not. We know one line of questioning for Arsene post match from the journalists tonight.
Not for for the first time this season Wenger has been keen to praise the contribution of Francis Coquelin.
“The world has changed,” Wenger said. “The appreciation today of the quality of a player is just down with the money you spend.
“If we had bought Coquelin at Christmas for £40m, everyone would say ‘what a signing’. I am sorry he didn’t cost any money, he is still a good player.
“What is a player worth today? Nobody knows really. I just wanted to say that if we had bought (Coquelin), nobody would complain that he was a good player.
“Nobody would dispute that his performances have been convincing and that he is ready for a fight even if somebody comes in. He has shown he has the capacity to play for us and play a big part in the success of the team. I extended his contract, that means I believe in him.”
“I know our future is only bright if I can keep a cohesion and a core of players who have been educated here and play year in, year out together,” Wenger said. “That is the difficulty in the modern job. The cohesion is a very important part of the success of the team but you are always under pressure to get in … People always want new. We live in a ‘new world’. The English players will play. People underestimate the fact that when you have been out for a year [like Walcott], it is not in four weeks that you come back.”