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Wenger backs Adebayor to win over the boo-boys

SoccerNews in English Premier League 3 Aug 2008

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Arsene Wenger expects Emmanuel Adebayor to prove to Arsenal's boo-boys why he is worth more than a plane load of cash.

Adebayor angered the Gunners faithful with his refusal to rule out a move away from the Premier League club for much of the close-season.

The Togo striker has finally agreed to stay and is set to sign a one-year contract extension. But it took the offer of an improved deal that will double Adebayor's wages to around 70,000 pounds-a-week to convince him to reject interest from AC Milan and Barcelona.

So perhaps it wasn't surprising that he received a frosty welcome back to the Emirates Stadium before Saturday's 1-0 friendly defeat against Juventus, when his name was jeered by a sizeable section of the 60,000 crowd.

When the 24-year-old came on as a second half substitute the reception was mixed again, but he gave a typically powerful display that pepped up a subdued Arsenal.

Wenger has no doubt about Adebayor's value. He wouldn't have considered selling him for less than 35 million pounds and is confident the targetman can get the fans back on his side.

“He is a top player who will want to prove himself in every game. I feel our fans are behind him, I feel that was more disappointed love,” Wenger said, in allusion to the boos.

“To me, face to face, he always told me he wants to stay at the club, and it finished like that, so I believe what he told me.

“He is not going anywhere – even if you come with a 747 plane full of money.”

After a close-season scarred by the departures of Alexander Hleb, Mathieu Flamini and Gilberto Silva, Wenger is short of proven experience in midfield.

The arrivals of Aaron Ramsey and Samir Nasri bode well for the future but the Gunners manager admitted he wants to add one midfielder before the transfer window shuts at the end of August.

Suggestions that he may move for Aston Villa's Gareth Barry got short shrift from Wenger, with Udinese's Goklan Inler another possible target.

“Experience-wise we are a bit short in midfield but we will see. With Diaby not being injured, Denilson being available, we have quality in there,” Wenger said.

“We are not close to signing anybody and I will focus on the players I have. If we can find someone, then we will do it. If not, I am happy as well.”

David Trezeguet's prodded first-half winner on Saturday reflected the disparity in experience between a full-strength Juventus and the collection of promising youngsters fielded by Wenger.

But when all their key players return Arsenal are capable of beating any team in Europe and Wenger is certain they can mount a sustained challenge for the Premier League title this season.

“Last year we were really really unlucky. We were only four points adrift and lost only three games,” Wenger said.

“In two of those we were leading 1-0 until 15 minutes before the end. We also got some bad injuries.

“We need to strengthen belief, not only in the way we play but the way we work. We must keep complete confidence in these young players.”

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