Wenger Taunt over Beckham Transfer

By Hughes, Matt | The Evening Standard (London, England), June 20, 2003 | Go to article overview

Wenger Taunt over Beckham Transfer


Hughes, Matt, The Evening Standard (London, England)


Byline: MATT HUGHES

ARSENE WENGER believes that David Beckham's move to Real Madrid could be the first of several summer departures from Old Trafford.

The Arsenal manager taunted his Manchester United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson by suggesting that the club's core of home-grown players could be about to break up.

Beckham, together with Gary and Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt, all came through the United ranks at a similar time, and Wenger believes that the England captain will not be the last to leave.

He said: "For me, it was a surprise. One of the things that made Manchester great is going and with it the togetherness that that group of players had, and the things they had achieved. It is the beginning of a break-up for that group."

In a comment that is sure to rile Ferguson, Wenger also suggested that unrest at Old Trafford had contributed to the relatively low fee of [pounds sterling]25million, though the Frenchman did concede that United would use the money to recruit some top-class replacements.

Wenger said: "The personal problems - between Beckham and Ferguson - certainly lowered the fee. But Manchester have the means to buy big. Even if Beckham had stayed they could have afforded to buy big, so with Beckham going, Manchester will lead the way in England now."

Beckham continued his promotional tour in Tokyo today, telling Japanese fans that he wanted to set up football schools in Asia and England after he had finished playing.

Sven-Goran Eriksson's agent, meanwhile, has reassured the Football Association that the Swede will not follow Beckham to the Bernabeu. The England coach has been linked with a move to Madrid following the revelation that he advised Beckham during his transfer but his agent, Athole Still, insisted the story was a "load of cobblers". …

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