Wenger warns that recession will soon hit football

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger issued a warning on Saturday that the global economic recession will affect football before the coming season is over.

updated: November 30, 2009 12:57 IST
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Barnet, England:

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger issued a warning on Saturday that the global economic recession will affect football before the coming season is over.

"It looks like football has not been hit by recession but due only to exceptional circumstances ," Wenger said after a preseason friendly against Barnet ended in a 2-2 draw.

"I still think that globally we will have to become more reasonable in the game even if you have some exceptional situations like Man City, like Chelsea, Real Madrid. But I still believe in the next eight to 10 months football with suffer, much more than people think."

Wenger, who holds an economics degree, was speaking shortly before losing striker Emmanuel Adebayor to Manchester City for a reported 25 million pounds ($41 million).

Wenger said he can spend money from selling Adebayor, but will only if "we find the right players and we feel it is needed."

"At the moment, we're not very close to bringing anybody else in. We are not on the verge of signing anybody," Wenger said.

Wenger played down Adebayor's departure, saying he had a number of attacking options to choose from and making special mention of Tomas Rosicky.

The 28-year-old Czech midfielder played for the first time in nearly 18 months on Saturday, making his comeback from a hamstring and knee injuries.

Rosicky captained the side against Barnet at Underhill and played the entire first half. He made some crisp passes and nearly scored against the League Two side.

Rosicky had not played since limping off with a hamstring injury after nine minutes of the FA Cup match against Newcastle on January 26, 2008. He also has been hampered by a knee injury.

"We wanted him to be our captain today because he's been frustrated for 18 months," Wenger said. "It's fantastic to see him back."

Rosicky was a key component of Arsenal's one-touch football that saw the team challenge for the title in the 2007-08 season.

Wenger had previously called the injury a "strange" one and the club has said it was a rare tendon injury. He said there was a time he feared Rosicky would never play again.

"I always had hope but you sometimes you think, 'Will he ever be coming back to the level where we want to be.' And for me it looks like 'yes,'" Wenger said.

Rosicky's return has been a long time coming. He lifted fans' hopes on Members Day in August 2008 when he was seen jogging around the field at Emirates Stadium. But he had setbacks in his rehabilitation and only resumed training in May.

Saturday's game was also William Gallas' first since damaging knee ligaments in a Champions League match in April.

It was also the debut for new signing Thomas Vermaelen, who joined from Ajax last month. The center back was the only player to be on the pitch for the full 90 minutes.

"I think he's strong, solid," Wenger said of the Belgian international. "He should be a good addition to the squad."