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

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?