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Last Updated: Monday, 15 May 2006, 06:56 GMT 07:56 UK
Wenger calm on player exodus fear
By Mandeep Sanghera

Arsene Wenger (left) with Robert Pires and Thierry Henry
Wenger is aware he could lose his major names in the summer
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admits he is ready to deal with the summer exit of some of his key players but is firmly focused on Champions League glory.

Arsenal face Barcelona in Wednesday's final in Paris - potentially the last game for Thierry Henry, Ashley Cole and Robert Pires.

"That is not decided and we will cope with all that," said Wenger.

"The important thing is we go together to Paris, win the trophy and then what happens, we will cope with it."

Striker Henry has been tipped for a move to fellow Champions League finalists Barcelona and defender Cole has been linked to Real Madrid.

Midfielder Pires, who has been offered only a one-year extension to his Gunners contract, will make a decision over his future after the Paris final.

If the team plays its game, I'm not worried about Thierry
Arsene Wenger

However, Wenger's sole focus is the clash with Barcelona and he added: "What is important is not what will happen in one month or two months but what we achieve together.

"We have prepared the present and the future.

"The future is ahead of schedule, that's the only thing I can say. The players have shown that during the season."

Henry has one year left on his Highbury deal and the 28-year-old has set the start of the World Cup on 9 June as his deadline for making a decision about signing a new Arsenal contract.

He could be convinced to stay at Arsenal after the club booked a place in the qualifying stages of next season's Champions League and the fact they are moving to a new stadium in the summer.

But Wenger is confident his captain will not let the uncertainty over his future affect him for the match against the Catalan side.

"I feel on an occasion like this what is important is winning the trophy," he said.


"You don't care what happens the next day or the day after but on the day you want to bring back the trophy."

Henry will be playing on home territory and, although there will be a great weight of expectation on the striker, Wenger is keen not to place too much pressure on his captain.

"Of course, the big players like him and Ronaldinho or Eto'o will be under pressure to perform," he added.

"What happens in this sort of game is that people will always compare but I do not want too much pressure on Thierry.

"If we play well as a team, which I'm convinced we will, Thierry will automatically be very good.

"If we do not play well as a team Thierry will suffer - and we have seen that against Villarreal away from home, where the team refused to play and where we suffered offensively.

"So my main concern is that the team plays its game then I am not worried about Thierry."

Interview: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

Interview: Barcelona's Giovanni van Bronckhorst

News conference: Theirry Henry

Henry to decide future by 9 June
31 Mar 06 |  Arsenal
Pires to announce Arsenal future
13 May 06 |  Arsenal
Why Arsenal came good in Europe
26 Apr 06 |  Arsenal
Road to Paris
26 Apr 06 |  Photo Galleries


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