Pitchside Europe

Wenger flies off to referee charity match. On transfer deadline day. Seriously.


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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

One might think that transfer deadline day would be a time for a manager to stand as close to his fax machine as possible, but Arsene Wenger apparently has other plans.

With speculation that Arsenal could make a late move into the transfer market before the window closes at 11pm, pictures emerged of Wenger waiting at Heathrow airport on Monday morning.

Was he flying out to finalise a late deal? Was he trying to persuade a target to move to the Emirates?

No, apparently not. Wenger was instead on his way to Rome where he is set to referee a charity match. Seriously.

The match, organised to ‘promote inter-religious peace through sporting engagement’, is set to feature stars such as Leo Messi, Ronaldinho and Andrea Pirlo.

However, Arsenal fans might think that the team's worrying deficiencies in the early weeks of the season mean Wenger would be better served trying to bolster the Gunners' squad rather than add to the list of famous names in his autograph book.

It is not a decision that has gone down at all well with many fans, with even BBC presenter Gary Lineker getting in on the topic...

Arsenal have already been beaten to the signing of Loic Remy by Chelsea, and were also reportedly in the race for Radamel Falcao, who seems set to join Manchester United on a loan deal.

They have also been linked with a defender and a midfielder, but the sight of Wenger instead travelling to promote world peace suggests that no business is imminent at the Emirates. 

Of course, if he signs Pirlo and Messi while over in the Eternal City then all will be forgiven. If not, and Arsenal's woes continue, then it's fair to say that those 'Wenger out' signs will start appearing once more at The Emirates...

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