Arssene Wenger has reacted angrily to claims made by Sky Sports' Paul Merson that he was axed by the Arsenal manager because of his poor standard of English.
Merson, whose 13 year career with the North London club was ended after only 4 months of Wenger being in charge, claims that the French boss is only interested in signing "guys with university degrees".
Although Merson was sold to Middlesbrough for a championship record fee of £5 million, he is adamant that the deal wasn't done for financial reasons but in the interests of creating a culture at Highbury of "prawn sandwiches and posh accents".
Wenger dismissed this allegation in the French magazine Le Sport, calling it "nonsense and totally bizarre" and pointed to the emergence of cockney speaking Jack Wilshere as a refutal of his alleged elitist attitude.
Merson recalls being regularly pilloried in front of his team mates for not being able to pronounce words such as 'momentum' or 'incorrigible' and also claims that the manager would punish him for any indiscretions by sending him to the corner of the changing room to read 'War and Peace'.
The Sky pundit suggests that this public humiliation had much to do with his subsequent battle with alcoholism