Premier League

Wenger in dark over buy-out talk

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Sun, 03 Mar 2013 20:49:00

Iker Casillas has been named in Real Madrid's squad for Tuesday night's Champions League clash with Manchester United.

Real Madrid captain Casillas has not played for Jose Mourinho's side since fracturing his left hand in their 5-0 win over Valencia in January and only returned to training on Thursday.

Despite beating rivals Barcelona 2-1 on Saturday, Los Blancos are 13 points behind the league leaders, meaning their main focus will be winning the Champions League.

Real and United drew 1-1 at the Bernabeu in the first leg after Cristiano Ronaldo cancelled out Danny Welbeck's strike.

Despite the face the English side have an away goal, Brazilian forward Kaka is confident they will reach the quarter-finals.

"Every player wants to play a match like this," he told Real Madrid's official website. "We came off the first leg in the Bernabeu with the feeling that we could have won the game and that we can equalise the draw in England and win.

"Manchester is really strong but we're going to Old Trafford with confidence.

"It's a traditionally European squad that always goes far in the competitions they play in. They also have really sold individual players like (Wayne) Rooney and (Robin) Van Persie.

"The stadium is fantastic, just like the ambience and the fans."

Reports have emerged claiming a Middle East consortium are preparing a ?1.5billion bid to buy out the Barclays Premier League club at around ?20,000 a share.

However, sources close to the Arsenal board on Sunday morning maintained there had been no approach, informal or otherwise, to the American owner, who remains "in it for the long term".

Kroenke pushed through his ?430million-plus takeover in April 2011, and now holds 66.83% overall control. The Kroenke Sports Enterprise Group has a history of sustained involvement in all of his sports interests in the United States, which include NBA side Denver Nuggets and NHL outfit Colorado Avalanche as well as the Major League Soccer club Colorado Rapids.

Wenger claimed he knew nothing of the rumours when asked following Sunday afternoon's 2-1 defeat at Tottenham, which leaves Arsenal in real danger of missing out on Champions League qualification next season.

"I don't know anything about it, I heard it like you [in the newspapers]," said Wenger. "You are only vulnerable if you want to sell and you need money. (However), that doesn't concern me at all, that is down to the owners."

Uzbek oil magnate Alisher Usmanov remains Arsenal's second largest shareholder with 29.96%, but does not currently hold a seat on the board.

Reports suggest if successful in a potential takeover, the consortium - said to be backed by funds from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates - would be ready to work with Usmanov's Red & White Holdings to help drive the Gunners back to the top of European football, vowing to slash ticket prices and stop the sale of star players such as former captains Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas.

Arsenal have not won a trophy since the 2005 FA Cup, during which period Wenger has long championed the club's self-sustaining policy and the need for UEFA's new Financial Fair Play regulations.

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