By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger has refuted suggestions by Laurent Blanc that foreign ownership of clubs is reducing football managers in England to "puppets".

Kevin Keegan and Alan Curbishley left Newcastle and West Ham respectively this month and both cited a lack of control with transfer dealings as reasons for their departures.

Blanc, now in charge at Bordeaux, believes that Premier League bosses are being forced to change the way they operate but Wenger insists that his fellow managers - including Blanc - will not relinquish enough control to make this a lasting trend.

"No, look at the moment at what is happening at Newcastle," said Wenger at his pre-match press conference. "They have problems finding a new manager, because managers just refuse to be like that.

"I don't think Laurent Blanc - who is from the younger generation - will accept that. I know him well and like him, but I don't think he will accept to be treated like that. He will want to be a man."

Wenger is watching developments on Tyneside with interest. Joe Kinnear was installed as interim manager today but Wenger believes that the upheaval at Newcastle is making prospective managers think twice about taking on the job.

"Newcastle, for example, is for me a very interesting challenge in a stable environment," said Wenger. "They have massive support and they deserve success and you would like to see them get a manager there who can turn that round.

"But they have created now an unstable position, because the owner wants to sell and they have no manager. So the situation is very difficult for someone to move in because he thinks someone will move in in the next two to three weeks to five years. You never know - it could be today.

"I always say the manager is by far the most important man in the club. Why? Because if it doesn't go well you sack him. If you sack someone who is not important it looks ridiculous."

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26 Sep 2008