Arsene Wenger has paved the way for Emmanuel Adebayor to leave Arsenal this summer by confirming he would have no problem in selling a player to Chelsea or any other big four rival.
Adebayor, who in Wenger’s words, came “close to leaving the club” last summer, has emerged as a possible target for Chelsea. Roman Abramovich, the club’s owner, admires the player and so does Carlo Ancelotti, the Milan manager, whom Chelsea hope to appoint as Guus Hiddink’s successor.
Ancelotti thought he had a deal to take Adebayor to San Siro last summer only for Silvio Berlusconi, the Milan owner, to intervene and insist that the club sign Ronaldinho from Barcelona. Wenger said that Adebayor remained a part of his plans he did not rule out the possibility of the Tog striker leaving in the summer.
“I don’t want to go especially into any individual assessment of who we want to keep and who not, at the moment, and normally Adebayor is part of our plans for the future,” he said. “If I feel that a player should go, or could go, why not sell him to one of the other top four?”
When reminded that Wenger that the top clubs rarely sold to their domestic rivals, the Arsenal boss said there had been precedents.
“Yes, of course, it’s unusual,” he said. “But we sold [Ashley] Cole to Chelsea and we bought [William] Gallas [from Stamford Bridge] so you can never say I never do it because I’ve already done it.”
Adebayor alienated Arsenal supporters by claiming last summer that he would like to play for Barcelona.
“I believe he was disturbed at the start by a little bit of bad feelings from the fans because he was close to leaving the club and it unsettled him a little bit,” said Wenger. “And after, he had a big [hamstring] injury [that kept him out for two months from early February]. He looks now in training very, very sharp and back to his best.”
Wenger was asked whether he wished he had sold Adebayor last summer, when his value was at its peak.
“In this path, you are always in a very delicate position for two reasons,” Wenger replied. “First, I cannot tell you all the truth, what happened behind the scenes and secondly, when you want to keep the players, you keep the players. You do not really look at how much money you get.
“On the other hand, people say you do not want to spend and when you have the good player, you sell him. We are in a position where we have … when I look in training today, the quality of our offensive sector is very strong.”