A Week in Football: Arsene Wenger identified as ideal successor to Domenech
Monday, 23 June 2008

After sifting through the wreckage of France's calamitous Euro 2008 campaign, World Cup winners Bixente Lizarazu and Christophe Dugarry have identified Arsene Wenger as the ideal successor to much-maligned coach Raymond Domenech, who is facing dismissal following a forthcoming internal enquiry, The Telegraph reports.

"Arsene Wenger seems to me to be the most experienced, mature and most complete candidate," said Lizarazu.

Wenger is contracted at Arsenal until 2011, almost certainly ruling him out, but Lizarazu's sentiments were echoed by Dugarry, who includes Wenger among a quartet of contenders completed by Didier Deschamps, Laurent Blanc and Claude Puel, the new Lyon coach. "They have spent time at big clubs where they've acquired that indispensable winning mentality," said Dugarry," and they possess humility and respect, two immense qualities."

As president of Fifa, Sepp Blatter should not be commenting on the abilities of national coaches. But dear old Sepp never can keep his nose out of other people's business, blaming Switzerland coach Kobi Kuhn for the Swiss failure to reach the knockout stages. Blatter said: "We had reached the ceiling with this coach. I advised SFA president Ralph Zloczower to drop Kuhn after the 2006 World Cup and he said 'My hands are tied. It's the league that controls the national team'." Blatter, as usual, did not check his facts when he went on to accuse Kuhn of being too loyal to established players. In fact, Kuhn dropped World Cup captain Johann Vogel and put out a midfield with an average age of less than 24.

An English team finally made it into a Euro 2008 stadium when the blind squad took on Spain at St Jakob Park in Basle as part of Uefa's Football For All campaign. It ended in more humiliation as Spain won 3-0, but England's David Clarke said: "We're just delighted to be here. It was quite difficult with the noise from the crowd."

Is nothing sacred? Obviously not where football is concerned, since some churches are showing matches on big screens. Stefan Roth of Church 8 said: "We aren't trying to increase our congregation. We know people are here foremost for football, not religion."

The weather has finally perked up in Zurich but after a deluge of rain street vendors who had hoped to make a killing are screaming for compensation. The city's Fan Mile, which has seven stages for live music, has been labelled 'Yawn Mile' by some vendors who have paid £8,000 for a pitch and are struggling to turn a profit. It is even worse in Geneva, where vendors who paid almost £20,000 for stalls are threatening to take local organisers to court. Although 335,000 fans passed through the city centre fan zone, Le Bout du Monde attracted only 11,500 visitors.
As events in Austria and Switzerland simmer towards a climax, the transfer market is also hotting up nicely, with Arsenal in the thick of it. Barcelona and Milan are desperately trying to lure Emmanuel Adebayor away from the Emirates stadium. Russia's Andrei Arshavin "wishes to change clubs" according to Zenit St Petersburg coach Dick Advocaat.

Arsenal - who were recently thwarted in a bid to sign Brazilian forward Diogo - lead a host of admirers. Spain's Xabi Alonso, linked with a move from Liverpool to Juventus, has revealed his "fascination" with Italian football, while Celtic's bid to prise James McFadden from Birmingham has been rejected.

Match of the Day magazine executives were left red-faced when five members of London marketing company Zenith, the winners of a competition to see Italy versus France, were arrested as they took their seats and jailed overnight after being given counterfeit tickets. A Zenith colleague said: "They were all really excited about winning the competition, but became suspicious when they realised the tickets were for the VIP area. Before they could explain themselves they were handcuffed and marched off."

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