Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on Tuesday said that failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League would not jeopardise contract negotiations with players.Arsenal’s hopes of a top four Premier League finish and a spot in Europe’s elite competition depend on the teams above them slipping up during the final stages of the season.Sixth-placed Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Manchester United on Sunday left them six points behind Manchester city, albeit with a game in hand. If Arsenal stay out of the top four, it would be the first time the London club has failed to qualify for the Champions League in more than two decades under Wenger.”Maybe, it can impact if in a longer spell you are not in there. But at the moment we are not in that mode,” Wenger told reporters.”Because we are in a strong financial position. The weight of a Champions League place is less big than it was in previous years. Negotiations-wise (for players) it will not have a huge impact.”Wenger expressed regret that he had been unable to give striker Lucas Perez more games. Perez has scored eight times in 21 appearances for Arsenal since joining in August.”He is a top quality striker, I couldn’t give him the games he wants and deserves and I feel sorry for him,” Wenger said.”Don’t take anything away from his quality. I would love to (keep him) if I am the manager but we have to sit down together and see if he has a reasonably chance to play or not.”advertisementDefender Laurent Koscielny and midfielder Granit Xhaka are set to face late fitness tests before the trip to St. Mary’s as they recover from recurring minor injuries.
It was an unusual stance for former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar in the Rajya Sabha today. But, then politics is a different ball-game altogether. And, Sachin Tendulkar is not accustomed to the kind of ‘sledging’ that happens in both Houses of Parliament.Hugely criticised for his non-appearance in Parliament, Sachin Tendulkar was supposed to make his debut as a speaker in the Rajya Sabha but he was stumped by the Opposition led by the Congress MPs, who created a ruckus in the House.Sachin Tendulkar today wanted to initiate a debate on right to play and future of sports in India. But, he was not allowed to speak. The Congress members, instead, wanted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to tender apology for his Pakistan comment during Gujarat election campaign.Several Congress members got up raising slogans such as “Desh ko gumrah karna band karo’ (stop misleading the nation) and seeking an apology from Modi.The master blaster stood perplexed in the Rajya Sabha waiting for the din to subside. But, the Congress MPs were unrelenting. Chairman of the Rajya Sabha Venkaiah Naidu’s repeated requests and chiding yielded no results.Finally after ten minutes the House was adjourned for the second time and Sachin Tendulkar returned without opening his account in the Rajya Sabha.Reacting to the development Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan angrily hit out at the Congress members saying, “He (SachinTendulkar) has earned name for India at the world stage. It is a matter of shame that he was not allowed to speak even when everyone knew it was on today’s agenda. Are only politicians allowed to speak?”advertisementThe Congress leaders were not be cowed down. “Does Bharat Ratna give you licence to speak (in Parliament),” senior party member Renuka Chowdhary was reported as saying. Reuka Chowdhary is a Rajya Sabha MP from Andhra Pradesh.Thereafter followed a barrage of comments on camera and social media, with Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan wrote on Twitter, “It’s a sad day in the history of Rajya Sabha Proceedings that the Greatest Cricketer of all time & a Bharat Ratna Awardee @sachin_rt was not allowed to share his views on a completely apolitical subject as sports by the members of the same Congress Party who brought him here.”It’s a sad day in the history of Rajya Sabha Proceedings that the Greatest Cricketer of all time & a Bharat Ratna Awardee @sachin_rt was not allowed to share his views on a completely apolitical subject as sports by the members of the same Congress Party who brought him here.- Dharmendra Pradhan (@dpradhanbjp) December 21, 2017Interestingly, Sachin Tendulkar was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in April 2012 by the Congress-led UPA government. He has been criticised for not attending the proceedings of the House.According to a report, till April this year, Sachin Tendulkar had attended only 23 of 348 days that the Rajya Sabhe sat since he became a member of the House. His attendance was only better than that of actor Rekha, who is also a nominated Rajya Sabha MP. She had attended the proceedings on only 18 days.