Arsenal's manager, Arsène Wenger, said yesterday that no club has made an official approach for Emmanuel Adebayor. He also said he had no plans to sit down with the Togo striker, despite Adebayor's claims on Friday that he wanted to discuss his future after reports linking him with Barcelona and Milan.
Wenger maintained that he had spoken to Adebayor in Vienna on Friday morning – before the 24-year-old made his comments about the impending meeting – and seemed baffled by what Adebayor, who has three years left on his contract, had said. "He's under contract and that's quite simple" said Wenger. "I'm not worried."
On Friday Adebayor, who cost Arsenal £5 million when he joined them from Monaco in January 2006, had made clear both that he is seriously considering a move and that he is happy to acknowledge that football is a business. "If what I hear is right, Arsenal could bring in five or six times the money they paid for me," he said. "Everyone is getting the benefits. They have to make a good decision and I have to make a good decision as well.
"Arsène is like a father to me and I love him a lot, but he bought me because he believed in my quality, not because I was from Togo or needed the money or looked beautiful. He bought me because he thought I could do something good for his club. He put me where I am today, but now a lot of teams want me and I must decide."
It is believed Milan, who finished fifth in Serie A and missed out on the Champions' League, would be prepared to offer Arsenal about £30m for the forward and pay him about £80,000 a week. Adebayor indicated he was keen to have his future finalised by 21 July, when Arsenal return for pre-season training.
He scored 30 goals in all competitions for Arsenal, but it is believed that Wenger sees £30m as a good price for a player whose goals dried up towards the end of the season. He has been linked with possible replacements, including Blackburn's Roque Santa Cruz, Valencia's David Villa and Mallorca's Daniel Guiza.
The prospect of players leaving and denting Arsenal's status has led the club's former chairman, David Dein, to warn that the Gunners risk being overtaken in the Premier League pecking order unless they allow Alisher Usmanov to seize control. The Uzbekistani billionaire owns a quarter of the club's shares but wants to launch a takeover through his company, Red and White Holdings, which is fronted by Dein.
Arsenal's ability to compete with other Premier League clubs financially has been questioned after the departure of Mathieu Flamini to Milan, with wages allegedly a major factor in his exit. Alexander Hleb also looks likely to leave.
Dein, who has had frosty relations with the Arsenal board since he left the club, claims that a takeover by a wealthy investor is the only way Wenger can succeed. Dein said: "I don't want to see Arsenal as the second or even third team in London. I can see the way the game is going. The wealthier are going to get wealthier and more successful. It is getting polarised."
Of Usmanov, he added: "He would change the whole dynamic of the club. At Arsenal, something has to break."Reuse content