Wenger ready for 'hard work' as Arsenal fly out to Austria

Arsene Wenger will take his Arsenal squad out to a 10-day training camp in Austria today insisting the hard work starts now as he looks to mould them into a team capable of winning a first Premier League title since 2004.

The Gunners manager ran the rule over summer signings Laurent Koscielny and Marouane Chamakh during Saturday's opening pre-season friendly against Barnet, where youngster Jay Simpson netted a double in a 4-0 win.

Wenger changed his entire line-up at half-time, and used three goalkeepers, although Manuel Almunia – whose position as Arsenal number one is by no means secure – was not available because of illness.

It was a welcome change for the Arsenal manager to get back to football following a summer of continued speculation over the future of captain Cesc Fabregas, which Wenger maintains must now stop.

"There was a lot of unneeded talk. It is not pleasant to read that every day. Now, the story has to stop," Wenger declared. "Cesc is our captain, he is so important to us and we want to keep him. That is why we were not listening to any offers. It was not a problem of money, just the desire to keep him at the club."

While Fabregas, who has five years of his contract left to run, and fellow World Cup finalist Robin van Persie will not be asked to return until the Emirates Cup begins on 31 July, the rest of the Arsenal players who were out in South Africa will join up in Austria, where warm-up matches have been arranged against Sturm Graz and SC Neusiedl.

"We finished third last season, so we of course try to improve," Wenger said. "Manchester City have now joined in on the big targets, so it will be hard.

"We have six players coming back to join us on Monday when we go to Austria, and then the hard work starts."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy