Arsenal coach unlikely to spend mega bucks on one player

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LONDON, Sep 29 (Reuters) Arsene Wenger is unlikely to sign a 'superstar' player for mega-bucks because he fears it would damage all the hard work he has done at Arsenal, the French coach said.

His philosophy has always been to sign talented youngsters from Europe and turn them into top performers.

But Wenger could have been forgiven a change of heart after the club announced this week their revenue had shot up 45 percent in the year to May, largely thanks to the 3.5 million pounds (7.11 million dollar) a match Arsenal now make from their new Emirates stadium.

Chairman Peter Hill-Wood said he asked Wenger what he would do with 100 million pounds and the Frenchman replied he would hand it straight back.

''I said that because I think I would ruin the work I have done in the last five years,'' Wenger told a news conference on the eve of today's Premier League game at London rivals West Ham United.

''If you develop players and at the last minute put 30 million pounds towards a player who is not necessarily better than the players you have, I am convinced it is not needed.'' Wenger, however, acknowledged the league leaders had possessed 'superstar' players in the recent past.

''I think we have had players here who are superstars, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, you forget Emmanuel Petit, they were all superstars but what, in the end, is a superstar?,'' said the Frenchman.

BETTER PERFORMANCE ''For me he is a player who has a better performance than another player on the pitch. If he speaks three times more on television? For me that doesn't make him a superstar.

''Maybe a year ago (Barcelona playmaker) Ronaldinho was the best player in the world. Is he today? No. It is as simple as that. You can be the number one in tennis in March and number 10 in November. Football players are the same.'' Wenger is hoping Arsenal's unbeaten start to the season will not be disrupted on Saturday by West Ham's Dean Ashton, a striker he tried to sign three years ago.

''When he was at Crewe they played against us in the Youth Cup and he was outstanding,'' said the Arsenal coach. ''I tried to get him here.

''He is an intelligent player and uses his body well and is good in the air. In my opinion he is good enough for England.'' REUTERS PDS HS1045

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