Wenger defends AVB over Lloris 'rift'

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has leapt to the defence of Tottenham Hotspur counterpart Andre Villas-Boas, in the midst of the furore surrounding the arrival of France No.1 Hugo Lloris.

Lloris signed for Spurs on the final day of the summer transfer window in a £12 million move from Lyon, where he was named Ligue 1 goalkeeper of the year in 2009, 2010 and 2012.

Sections of the media have criticised Villas-Boas after he suggested American goalkeeper Brad Friedel could keep his place in the side should he continue to perform at a high level following his side's 1-1 draw with Norwich City.

Although Lloris himself was quiet on the issue, his international manager Didier Deschamps interjected, suggesting the goalkeeper 'did not appreciate' Villas-Boas' comments, and was at risk of being dropped from the national team should he not play regularly at club level.

But Wenger, speaking to French television station TF1 prior to France's 1-0 World Cup qualifying win in Finland, said the matter had been blown out of proportion.

"Brad Friedel saved Villas-Boas and he owes him a form of recognition — but it doesn't mean he won't play Hugo," Wenger reasoned.

"When they see Hugo in training, they'll understand quite quickly they've got a hell of a player.

"Let's not be dramatic, he has a guy ahead of him who's 41 and you must plan his replacement — and this might happen in the next three weeks."

Lloris will train with Tottenham for the first time on Wednesday, ahead of the North Londoners' next Premier League fixture away to Reading on Sunday.


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