• Premier League

Wenger: Arshavin will leave in the summer

ESPN staff
April 12, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Arsene Wenger has confirmed Arshavin's exit

Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Russian midfielder Andrey Arhavin will leave Arsenal this summer.

Reports earlier in the week had suggested the 31-year-old who cost Arsenal £15m when he signed from Zenit St Petersburg will retire from football when his current contract expires this summer, yet Wenger paid tribute to the much maligned playmaker.

"He is at the end of his contract at the end of the season and then he will decide what to do, but I don't think he will stay here because he doesn't play enough," Wenger said.

"I must say publicly that I give him credit. He is working absolutely every session 100 per cent commitment and he is an example to everybody because he has been questioned about his commitment. If you see him every day, you would respect him for his commitment."

Meanwhile, Wenger had moved to play down reports linking him with a summer move for Swansea defender Ashley Williams, insisting his focus will not turn to transfer targets until his side's push to reclaim a top-four finish in the Premier League has been concluded.

When asked about a possible £9 million bid for Williams, Wenger stalled before responding: "I cannot stop that (speculation). There is no truth in anything at the moment. We are not at all on the transfer market.

"We are just focusing on our next games. For me, what is important is to have a good team and good players. I cannot say much more than that. That I want to win every game, that is for sure.

"What is important is in the summer that we strengthen the team in the right positions, but this is not the moment for me to assess that now. That decision will be made in the summer. We have to live and deal with the present. We have a serious job to do, which is to focus on our games."

Links with Williams place further doubts over the future of Arsenal skipper Thomas Vermaelen, but Wenger insisted the Belgian centre-back still has a future at the club.

"His attitude has been fantastic," he said of Vermaelen. "He is a great man first of all and a great fighter, he is a winner. He fights for his place back.

"Sometimes you gain more respect when you don't play. His attitude has been absolutely marvellous. Of course he has a future. He is our captain, he has a long term contract. Periods when you don't play can happen. That is part of our job."

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