Wenger stands by United comments

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The Independent Online

An unrepentant Arsène Wenger yesterday stirred the still bubbling pot of enmity between Arsenal and Manchester United when he booked himself a lively double-header for next week.

An unrepentant Arsène Wenger yesterday stirred the still bubbling pot of enmity between Arsenal and Manchester United when he booked himself a lively double-header for next week.

Wenger has requested a personal hearing to dispute a charge of improper conduct levelled at him by the Football Association. This followed comments the Arsenal manager allegedly made about Ruud van Nistelrooy following the clubs' October meeting at Old Trafford. The hearing is likely to be heard next Thursday, the morning after Arsenal return to Old Trafford for a League Cup tie.

Yesterday, Wenger insisted: "I stand by what I said, it is as simple as that. You should not always have to be politically correct on everything. At some stage you have to say what you think without insulting people. On the day what I said was not exaggerated. I did not say he was a cheat. What I said is on the public record." Wenger said of Van Nistelrooy, who had stamped on Ashley Cole during the game: "We all know him, he can only cheat people." Wenger is likely to be fined and warned as to his future conduct. He may then appeal.

Arsenal were less effusive on the subject of a reported £2m bid for Marcos, the 31-year-old Palmeiras goalkeeper. The Brazilian, who almost joined the club two seasons ago, has been out for six months following surgery on a hand injury but is now fit. If the parties can agree terms Marcos, who was a World Cup winner with Brazil in 2002, could arrive in the January transfer window and could be registered for the rest of the Champions' League campaign.

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