Arsene Wenger yesterday backed Chelsea's decision to sack Adrian Mutu but warned that clubs can never be sure the players they sign are drugs-free. The Arsenal manager was responding to the decision by his London rivals to end their association with the Romanian striker after he tested positive for cocaine use in a drugs test last month.
"I respect the decision of Chelsea," the Frenchman said. "The only restriction I have is that I don't know how guilty he is. I agree with the high moral standards at the club and the players have a big responsibility. Therefore you cannot be against a decision like that.
"Also in the case of Mutu there was a split anyway before this drug problem happened. So maybe it's in the best interests of the two that they part ways. We check the backgrounds of players we buy. But you can get players who take drugs but have never been tested."
Wenger added that the footballers themselves must take responsibility for their actions and should resist the temptations offered by living in the capital. "You cannot test a player every day," he said. "You can test him Wednesday morning, he can take something Wednesday night and you cannot test him the next morning. It's always down to individual responsibility.
"The club is responsible for [not giving] performance-enhancing drugs, which some clubs do. But for social drugs, I don't know. It's down to all of us just to go home. We all have the choice to do what we want to do.
"We have our internal rulebook but in a city like London you have to be big enough [to be responsible for yourself]. It's threatening our kids now when they go to school. You can warn and warn, but it doesn't stop people doing drugs if they want to.
"If it happened at Arsenal now we would take it on a case-by-case basis. Paul Merson came out [10 years ago] and said he was addicted to cocaine and wanted help. So if a player comes out like that, can you just sack the player? I don't know. If he wants help you have to help him."
Of more immediate concern to Wenger are Sol Campbell's recurring Achilles and calf problems. The England defender will miss Arsenal's next two games, and his manager said: "This time it is higher up so it should be a much shorter recovery time. But I do worry that he might be out for a period of time. I don't think it will need surgery at the moment but I am just a bit concerned at the recurrence of it."Reuse content