Blues gunning for Wenger

LONDON: Arsenal rubbished suggestions on Monday that manager Arsene Wenger was about to move to London rivals Chelsea.  

Weekend reports in the British press suggested that Wenger was top of Chelsea billionaire owner Roman Abramovich's list to replace Claudio Ranieri at the end of the season.  

But Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood, speaking ahead of the clubs' Champions League quarter-final, first leg tie at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, said he was certain Wenger was staying at Highbury even though he could understand why other sides would want the Frenchman.  

“Who wouldn't? It is up to him but I cannot believe he would consider it,” Hill-Wood told Monday's edition of the London Evening Standard.  

“We haven't started new contract talks yet because he is pre-occupied. They will take place at the end of the season.  

“But I know he is excited about the squad we have and he is excited about the stadium project. I cannot imagine anyone else leading the team out when the new stadium opens in August 2006.  

“I am sure he is very happy here. He is well-paid and allowed to do what he wants. The board at Arsenal have never said 'no' to him. Everything he suggests is eminently sensible.”  

Arsenal lead Chelsea by nine points at the top of the Premier League and are currently on course for a trophy treble with Wenger's FA Cup holders facing Manchester United in the semi-finals of this season's competition.  

Saturday's 2-1 win over Bolton extended the Gunners' unbeaten start to the league season to 29 matches, matching the achievement of Leeds in 1973-74 and Liverpool in 1987-88.  

And Arsenal have not lost against Chelsea in 16 matches. – AFP 

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