Football: Happy Wenger enjoying his role in control

As Arsenal prepare for tonight's second round Uefa Cup tie with PAOK Salonika at Highbury, Arsene Wenger has revealed the guarantees he has required in order to remain the manager at Highbury.

A year ago Wenger took control of a club in turmoil. Because of the scandal which brought about George Graham's departure, his immediate successors enjoyed far less control, but Wenger's arrival restored the power balance.

"For me the basics of the job was to have the freedom to run the club as I chose - to make the important decisions about what was to happen inside the club, to buy the players, to sell them and decide on things such as contracts and even a new training ground," Wenger said.

"Without an assurance of that freedom and control I would not have stayed. Maybe you are used to that in English football, but in some foreign countries the manager can come back for the start of the season to discover who the president has bought and sold during the holidays."

Arsenal, seeking to overcome a 1-0 deficit from the first leg, have Lee Dixon fit again and expect Ray Parlour and Marc Overmars to shake off knocks.

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