Wenger rules out Arsenal player sales

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The Independent Football

Arsene Wenger will not "destabilise" Arsenal again by allowing any key players to leave.

The Gunners have every reason to be positive for 2010, having dragged themselves back into the Barclays Premier League title race - although letting a chance to close right up on leaders Chelsea slip after being held to a 2-2 draw at home by Everton last weekend.

With Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner and England forward Theo Walcott close to a return, Wenger has no urgent need to dip into the transfer market this month to cover the loss of long-term absentee Robin van Persie.

However, having seen progress stalled when Mathieu Flamini and Alexander Hleb moved on during the summer of 2008, the Arsenal boss has ruled out any of his regulars leaving - with Barcelona reportedly ready to launch a multi-million-pound bid for captain Cesc Fabregas.

Wenger said: "Recently we have signed Abou Diaby and Tomas Rosicky to new contracts and that is 15 players we have re-signed this season. Now what I want to achieve is to keep these players.

"We have worked very hard with them together.

"We have given them a chance at a big club and this is the way to see our policy through.

"We want to keep them together because we have seen when players have left before and we do not want to be destabilised again."

One youngster, though, who has yet to agree new terms is midfielder Fran Merida.

The Spain youth international is out of contract at the end of the season so can talk to other clubs.

Merida, 19, remains keen to stay at Arsenal but is hungry for more first-team football.

"I am at an age where you need to play," said Merida, who is understood not to be keen on another loan spell away from the Gunners.

"In the last two seasons, maybe I did not have a run of games, so it is a bit difficult.

"But I am trying to train really hard, because I do not play that much, and to show the boss I am ready - that is all I can do."

Wenger has money to spend but will only do so on talent he believes can add to the squad.

A move for veteran former skipper Sol Campbell, who has been training with Arsenal since leaving Notts County, could still materialise but only if Swiss centre-back Philippe Senderos - who almost joined Everton in the summer - leaves.

Toffees striker Louis Saha is the latest name to be linked with Arsenal but Wenger remains relaxed about the whole issue.

"We are open to new players coming in, and in every position," he said.

"It is a bit like being a fisherman - you try here, you try there.

"You have a list in your head of priorities: one, two, three, four - and you always try to get number one."

Fabregas, meanwhile, is expected to recover from a hamstring problem in time for Sunday's game at Bolton.

However, the extent of Denilson's latest injury, after the midfielder fell to the ground during the closing stages against Everton and had to be carried off, has not yet been confirmed.

With Alex Song away at the African Nations Cup, Wenger had pencilled the 21-year-old in as cover.

Fabregas suffered his latest injury setback when sprinting the length of the field to score a crucial second goal in the 3-0 home win over Aston Villa on December 27.

However, the Spain international, who came off the bench to turn the match, would have no qualms about putting his body on the line again.

"If I had not made the 50-yard sprint, then I probably would not have aggravated the injury. Sometimes, though, you need to do it," he said.

"I told the physios before the game, 'if I play, you know me, if I am on the pitch, I will be everywhere.'

"I cannot stay in a small area and just pass it, I like to move.

"Even when I know I am not 100%, I can't help doing that when I am out there."

In a strange coincidence, both of new Clarets boss Owen Coyle's first two matches in charge will be against the Gunners, with the re-arranged fixture at the Emirates Stadium following last week's postponement now set for January 20.