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Monday, 12 August, 2002, 09:50 GMT 10:50 UK
Wenger backs Jeffers
Francis Jeffers has the backing of Wenger
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger insists injury-plagued striker Francis Jeffers can emerge from a year-long struggle to be a force this season.

Wenger was responding to a claim from former Highbury captain Tony Adams that he needs to sign a striker to bolster his squad.

He disagreed with Adams - and backed Jeffers to come out of the shadows to finally justify the 10m price tag that accompanied his move from Everton last summer.

Wenger also has an array of attacking talent to back his faith in Arsenal's forward line after their league and FA Cup double last term.

Kanu, Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg are still recovering from injuries, but Thierry Henry, Sylvain Wiltord and Dennis Bergkamp are all fit and in contention.


Jeffers has struggled since he signed with an ankle problem that had troubled him at Everton, and made only three starts last season.

He is due to resume full training before the start of the new Premiership campaign, and Wenger has faith in the England under-21 striker to come good.

Jeffers is on course to play in the reserves in 10 days, and this persuaded Wenger to reject Adams' fears.

Wenger insisted: "A new striker? I've already bought one. It's Francis Jeffers. It could be his season, don't forget.

"We were the only team who scored in every game last season, so it's not obvious to say we need to buy a new striker.

"In any case, I want to give a chance to Jeffers when he comes back and also to Jeremie Aliadiere. They are young and very talented."


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