Why Did Stokes Leave?

Last updated : 09 January 2007 By Martyn Bowers
Arsene Wenger has explained the reasons behind his decision to let young starlet Anthony Stokes join Sunderland permanently.

The French tactician allowed the young striker to join Sunderland in a deal worth £2million yesterday and admitted that letting Stokes go was hard but it was better for the 18-year-old's future.

Arsenal boss Wenger said: "It was a difficult decision [to let Stokes go] but we have a congestion of strikers.

"We have [Arturo] Lupoli, [Nicklas] Bendtner, we have [Jeremie] Aliadiere, we have [Julio] Baptista, [Robin] Van Persie, [Emmanuel] Adebayor and [Thierry] Henry. At some stage it is unfair to stop somebody because there is too much congestion in front of him."

Although highly regarded as one of the best young prospects in the country, Stokes only made one appearance for Arsenal which ironically came at the Stadium Of Light in October 2005 during a Carling Cup tie versus Arsenal.