By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger has hit back at claims that he should not have sold two established players to Manchester City.
Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure have both left Emirates Stadium this month to join the star-studded squad Mark Hughes is assembling at Eastlands.
Although the transfers represent excellent business - both players were sold at a substantial profit - Wenger has been criticised for strengthening a team which could challenge Arsenal for a Champions League spot this season.
The accusation was put to the manager at his pre-match press conference on Friday and Wenger was quick to defend his transfer dealings.
“I always say when you come to the decision to sell a player you can’t on top choose who you want to sell them to," he explained.
"If you decide to sell he can choose where he wants to go otherwise it would be completely unfair.
"If they are becoming a main rival I cannot stop it with a decision to sell a player or not. If they don’t buy from you they buy another good player from someone else. Nobody can stop a club fighting for the top four and if they are a rival they will be the same for Man United, Liverpool and Chelsea. What is most important is we stay strong.”
Adebayor's future had been the subject of speculation since last summer while Toure was linked with a move in January. So why did Wenger eventually decide to let both players leave?
“This kind of process depends always on the players you sell, on the number of players you have behind, the overall quality of the squad and you do not want to go public too much why you make these decisions," he said.
"They are always difficult decisions but that’s part of our game and we lost two great players, but we have as well, great players behind and that’s up to us to show during the season that we still have the quality to fight at the top level.”Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source