Wenger exit talk is a joke, says Almunia

ARSENAL goalkeeper Manuel Almunia has dismissed speculation that manager Arsene Wenger and the club&rsquo;s star players could be set to leave, insisting he and his team-mates routinely laugh off such talk.<br /><br />Rumours that Wenger may end his 13-year reign have escalated sharply following stinging criticism from shareholders, with Real Madrid mooted as the Frenchman&rsquo;s most likely destination.<br /><br />Striker Emmanuel Adebayor, meanwhile, looks likely to depart amid reported interest from Chelsea, AC Milan and Inter Milan, while Wenger&rsquo;s departure would cast doubt on the futures of a host of Gunners stars.<br /><br />But Almunia refuses to take seriously gossip about his colleagues leaving, and says the near-constant reports are a source of dressing-room humour.<br /><br />&ldquo;We are not affected by transfer speculation and sometimes it is a good thing for us because we make jokes about it when it comes out in the press,&rdquo; the Spaniard said.<br /><br />&ldquo;We say: &lsquo;Did you see that you have signed with Barcelona, once again?&rsquo; We have a laugh because it is almost always untrue. It is talking for talking. Many things are said to sell newspapers, but as far as we are concerned we remain pretty much relaxed.&rdquo;<br /><br />Wenger has two years left on his current contract but has faced pressure unprecedented in his time in north London during a season that will end without silverware for the fourth year in a row.<br /><br />The 59-year-old was said to be upset by a grilling that he received from shareholders at a forum last week &ndash; a show of hostility and disrespect that chairman Peter Hill-Wood condemned as &ldquo;disgraceful&rdquo;.<br /><br />Real have long courted Wenger but their president-elect Florentino Perez is reportedly set to step up efforts to lure him amid the renewed uncertainty surrounding his future at Arsenal.