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Friday, July 30, 1999 Published at 14:11 GMT 15:11 UK

Anelka 'will not play for Arsenal again'

Nicolas Anelka is welcomed to Highbury by Arsene Wenger in February 1997

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he is convinced that want-away striker Nicolas Anelka has played his last game for the club.

Anelka has been ordered to return to Highbury after his £23m transfer to Lazio fell through over the Frenchman's failure to reach personal terms with the Italian club.

But Wenger was in defiant mood on Friday and insisted the 20-year-old frontman was no longer welcome in his team.

[ image: Anelka stunned England with a two-goal display for France last February]
Anelka stunned England with a two-goal display for France last February
"What is 99% sure now is that he will not play for us any more," Wenger said.

"What is important at the moment is the club and my team - not Nicolas Anelka any more, because he cannot fight for us.

"It is more important for me to make 250,000 people happy than one - that's my target.

"I think we have a strong team, we have a strong squad and we are determined to do well in Europe and in England.

"We lost a very good player, but that happens to every club."

Time for a change

The Arsenal boss believes the farce over Anelka's non-movement indicates that there is an urgent need to reform the international transfer system.

Anelka's two brothers, who act as the player's advisers, have been criticised for their roles in the deal and their massive wage demands.

"It's not only the behaviour of Anelka that's a little bit surprising," Wenger said.

"I believe that the whole transfer system has to be rescheduled and changed. Fifa has a lot of work to do.

"I was closely involved in that deal, and there are some surprising things going on at the moment in the transfer market.

"Perhaps Fifa has lost control and the rules are not respected any more," he added.

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