Football: Graham rules out purchase of Brolin

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The Independent Online
GEORGE GRAHAM, the Arsenal manager, yesterday scotched the rumour that he was poised to sign Tomas Brolin, the Swedish World Cup striker, saying that there was 'no point in getting people who are not as good as we have already got', writes Clive White.

That contentious remark apart, Graham did concede that he would like to sign somebody for the start of the season but admitted that it was 'looking difficult now'. Earlier in the week London was rife with rumour that Graham was to pay Parma pounds 2.8m for the international team-mate of Arsenal's new signing, Stefan Schwarz.

But Graham insisted yesterday: 'Brolin is not for us. I want to sign new players but there are very few top-class players available right now that come up to the standard we require.'

Graham, who has failed this summer to win the signatures of Norwich's Chris Sutton and QPR's Les Ferdinand, again denied that Arsenal's wage policy, whereby most players earn roughly the same, was proving a handicap.

Graham must wish that Fifa's new edicts could also be dismissed as mere rumour. He warned yesterday of the dangers they posed to the competitive nature of the English game and the gains made in attendances in recent years.

Graham, who was receiving the Premiership's Carling No 1 Award to mark Arsenal's achievement in winning the Cup-Winners' Cup last May, said: 'I hope it won't change the competitive nature of our game because people abroad are afraid of it and admire it. We've got, I think, a better mental attitude than they have on the Continent.

'There's not much wrong with the English game. We have a lot to offer and that's reflected in attendances going up steadily for the past few years. We must be careful not to lose it.'

A London punter has bet pounds 2 at 2,000-1 on Arsenal's John Jensen - who has yet to score in two years at Highbury - finishing the season as the Premier League's top scorer. 'We tried to persuade him to increase his stake,' a spokesman for Ladbrokes said.