Wenger warns: Arsenal can't claim to be a big club if Fabregas and Nasri are sold
Published 00:01 12/07/11 By John Cross in Kuala Lumpur
Arsene Wenger last night admitted Arsenal "can no longer be called a big club" if they sell Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.
"Imagine the worst situation - we lose Fabregas and Nasri - you cannot convince people you are ambitious after that," he said.
"And even if you lose Nasri, to find the same quality player, you have to spend again the same amount of money. Because you cannot say, you lose the player and you do not replace him.
"I believe for us it is important the message we give out. For example, you talk about Fabregas leaving, Nasri leaving.
"If you give that message out, you cannot pretend you are a big club, because a big club first of all holds onto its big players and gives a message out to all the other big clubs that they just cannot come in and take away from you.
"We worked very hard with these players for years to develop them, and now it's a time for us to keep them together."
Wenger, speaking at the start of Arsenal's Far East pre-season tour, said Nasri will "definitely" stay despite interest from Manchester City, Manchester United and Inter Milan.
The Gunners will risk Nasri running down his contract, which has just a year to run, but Wenger is also confident the player will sign a new deal.
He also insisted they have not given up hope of keeping Fabregas out of the clutches of Barcelona and branded the Europan champions' president Sandro Rosell "disrespectful" over their pursuit of the Arsenal captain.
Fabregas, who has missed the trip to the Far East because of a hamstring injury, resumed full training yesterday and Wenger admitted he only wants him to stay if he is fully committed to Arsenal.
Wenger was also upset that Rosell claimed Fabregas was worth less this summer than 12 months ago.
Arsenal have already knocked back two offers of £27m and £34m. Barcelona will have to go closer to £40m to get their man.
"That is disrespectful to Cesc," said Wenger. "I rate Cesc so highly. For me, he is top, top world class, certainly in the top five midfield players in the world.
"For us, it's not a question of money. It is a question of Cesc wanting to be with us. And I think he is torn because he loves the club deeply.
"We will fight until the last second to keep him.
"I think Cesc has always been torn between his love for Arsenal, that I feel is really genuine, and, as well - and what you can understand -the desire to play for the biggest team in the world. I think both exist in his head.
"I am confident, because I hope he will see that there will be no greater achievement for him in his life than to lead this team to success and that it will not be the right period for him to leave."