Dein backing for under-fire Wenger

FORMER Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein believes it would represent a criminal error of judgement to write Arsene Wenger off before the season has even started.

Wenger has gone six seasons without winning a trophy and has endured a turbulent summer, which has yet to see the futures of want-away midfielders Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas resolved.

Dein, however, who brought the then unheralded Frenchman to the club 15 years ago, believes Wenger remains the best candidate to restore glory to the north London club.

“Arsene is very focused and very determined. I see a man who still has as much fire in the belly today as when he started,” he said.

“He wants to win. I believe in his ability and I know for a fact he is trying very hard to improve the squad this year and I hope he does it.

“People have got to remember what he has achieved. It is easy in life to get rid of people. Then what? How do you follow Arsene Wenger? That is going to be the trick for the board and it is not going to be easy.”

Wenger, meanwhile, has been left to count the cost of Saturday’s 2-1 friendly defeat against Benfica in Lisbon.

With just five days to go until Arsenal’s opening day fixture against Newcastle, Wenger is sweating on the fitness of Robin van Persie, Kieran Gibbs and Thomas Vermaelen, who all picked up knocks in Portugal.