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Wenger: I can't guarantee Vermaelen will stay

ESPN staff
July 19, 2014
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Arsene Wenger has admitted he is uncertain whether reported Manchester United target Thomas Vermaelen will be at Arsenal next season.

Vermaelen, 28, said earlier this month that he plans to hold talks with his club as he continues to stall over whether to extend his stay at the Emirates Stadium.

"I cannot guarantee he will stay, but should he go I would bring another centre-back in for sure," Wenger told the club's official website after Arsenal's 2-0 friendly win at Boreham Wood.

Jack Wilshere applauds the England fans © Getty Images

Wenger has also confirmed he will speak to Jack Wilshere after he was pictured smoking while on holiday at a Las Vegas hotel, an incident which prompted Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho to claim the midfielder has tarnished his image as a role model to children.

The Arsenal manager criticised his player last season when he was photographed smoking outside of a London nightclub with Wilshere vowing it would never happen again, but Wenger says he's not "deeply concerned" this time around.

"I haven't spoken to him [Wilshere] so it's very difficult for me to make any statement," Wenger added.

"I know what you can make of pictures - I have to speak to him really to see what happened before I come out publicly.

"I'm not deeply concerned by it. I just want to know what happened and before I know what happened, I don't want to talk too much about it."

Wilshere made an early start to his pre-season preparations after he returned to training three days before most of his team-mates earlier this week.

Wenger admitted the coming season will be an important one for Wilshere, 22, whose career has stalled in recent years after a string of injuries.

"He's at an age where you want him to move forward," Wenger said. "He has the potential. I believe for him, the most important [thing] now is to have a good preparation and focus on getting really fit.

"Jack is a great player - he has a football brain and he's ambitious. I'm sure that [if] he's injury free, he will have a great season."

Wenger also offered a response to Mourinho's claim that Cesc Fabregas turned down a return to Arsenal this summer because he only had eyes for Chelsea.

"I think people came out and said he wanted to go to Chelsea. I don't know who tells the truth here or not. He landed where he wanted to go," said Wenger, when asked why Arsenal did not move for their former captain.

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