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Monday, May 16, 2011

Wenger lashes out at Merson doping claims

Arsene Wenger has hit back at claims made by former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson that cast doubts over the club’s medical procedures under the Frenchman.

Merson claims that during his brief spell at the club with Wenger at the helm, he saw players injected with a yellowy substance, while Wenger himself handed out a “dark tablet” which was super-strength caffeine.

The England international played under Wenger for a four month spell before joining Middlesbrough at the end of the 1996/97 season.

But now the Arsenal boss has reacted angrily to Merson’s claims, and insisted: “I cannot take that comment seriously."

I don't know how many players have played here over 15 years, 200 maybe," said Wenger. It is absolutely ridiculous to put any suspicion on the way we treat the players and respect the players' health.

"Some of them stayed for 10 years. Paul Merson stayed with me for four months, so I think it is better you ask people who have played for five, six, seven, eight, nine years here how we behave medically.

"I personally give them nothing. If they don't want to take anything, they take nothing.” He added.

Wenger went on to insist he would “resign tomorrow” if Merson could find one player to back up his claims.

Merson played 423 times for Arsenal, scoring 99 times in a career that was dogged by alcohol, drug and gambling addictions.

Arsenal’s form meanwhile continued to dip after they lost 2-1 against Aston Villa on Sunday. They could still lose out to Man City in the race for third place and be forced to go through the qualifying stages of the Champions League.

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